Openreach CEO, Clive Selley, and MP John Glen appeal for businesses and residents to upgrade to a new ultrafast and ultra-reliable broadband network to boost post-Covid-19 recovery.
Openreach engineers have completed the fastest city-wide network build in the UK - making ’Full Fibre’ broadband available to more than 20,000 premises in just under 12-months, starting in March last year and finishing in March 2020.
The new network will allow thousands more people to work remotely, unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next generation of home-grown businesses.
Just 800 homes and businesses have so far upgraded to the new Full Fibre service, but recent research suggests the network could bring a range of economic, social and environmental benefits as the city looks to bounce back from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
For businesses and sole traders in Salisbury, a full fibre connection will help them compete in markets all over the UK and around the world. It makes uploading, downloading and transferring large files much easier and enables vital new digital services like uninterrupted monitoring, video conferencing and streaming, as well as enabling things like greater flexible working for staff.
A report by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr) – commissioned by Openreach - revealed that connecting everyone in the South West of England to ‘Full Fibre’ broadband by 2025 would create a £4.3 billion boost to the region’s economy. The report also found that 42,000 people in the region could return to work through enhanced connectivity - including in small businesses and through entrepreneurship.
In another first, Salisbury has been Openreach’s flagship pilot site for developing and testing ways to upgrade the UK’s old analogue phone network to a new digital service – where voice calls are carried over the same fibre cables as people’s broadband - instead of traditional copper wires.
From December 2020, residents and businesses will no longer be able to buy a traditional analogue landline as part of a longer-term plan to retire slower and less reliable copper-based network throughout the country.
Find out if full fibre is available in your area
Clive Selley, CEO at Openreach, said: “There has never been a better time to upgrade to a Full Fibre broadband service. This new digital platform can help the UK’s economy bounce back more quickly from the Covid-19 pandemic and that can start right here in Salisbury. A full recovery is likely to be measured in years rather than months, but there’s strong evidence that points to Full Fibre broadband being able to turbo-charge that process.
“And from December if you live in the city of Salisbury and want to change your broadband, you’ll have to upgrade to Full Fibre as we start to move closer to a digital world. It makes no sense to run two networks side-by-side, so we’re planning to retire the old, analogue network entirely.
“For Salisbury’s homes, shops, GP surgeries and schools, it will mean fewer broadband faults, faster connections, and a consistent reliable network that will serve the city for decades to come. From homeworking to healthcare, digital trade to entertainment, the possibilities that this new network can bring are almost limitless.”
John Glen, MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire said: “I’ve welcomed Openreach’s commitment to Salisbury and the hard work of their engineers which means we are now one of the best-connected places in the country. Now is the time for people and businesses in the city to capitalize on this investment. The Coronavirus lockdown has brought into sharp focus the critical role broadband connectivity plays in our lives – whether it is enabling people to work from home, small businesses to trade online or children to keep up with their studies while schools and colleges are closed.
“Full Fibre is more reliable and faster so can help us do much more online, and much more efficiently. For example, it can boost business productivity by enabling cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computer services. It is also future-proofed, so will serve Salisbury well for the next wave of bandwidth hungry innovations which consumers and businesses will demand in the years ahead.
“If we’re able to harness these benefits now it will give us a digital springboard for future growth.”
In partnership with VisitWiltshire, Salisbury BID co-fund the Visit Salisbury website to promote the city to visitors. The Visit Salisbury website has a full events calendar for Salisbury.