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BT’s Cornish superfast broadband rollout in pictures

09 Nov 2012

BT fibre telegraph pole in Falmouth Cornwall

Bringing broadband to the final third of the UK has been on the political agenda for many years now, with the government aware of the social and economic importance of bringing superfast services to everyone in country.

One area in the UK that has benefitted from this growing push for high speed services is Cornwall, which secured dedicated funding from the European Commission and BT to ensure the entire region is able to access high-speed services by spring 2014.

This week, V3 had the chance to see how that work is progressing and some of the innovative solutions BT is using to meet the requirements of the rollout.

BT Openreach is in charge of the main rollout since it began on 30 September 2010, and to date 15,000 premises are now connected, including 3,000 businesses.

This includes the Driftwood Spars pub in St Agnes (pictured below), which uses its connection to connect customers to wine growers in France via video conference to discuss the wines they are drinking, among other things.

 

BT Openreach vans in St Agnes Cornwall

 
These connections are run through new cabinets installed in villages that can offer connections as high as 330Mbit/s in some locations, while for some in villages such as Trispen (below), access to around 40Mbit/s plus marks a huge improvement on old speeds of 1-2Mbit/s at best.

BT is also giving its new cabinets a nice bit of colour to let residents know the services have arrived.

BT cabinet in Trispen Cornwall delivering superfast services
 
Residents and businesses in Trispen were subject to such sloth-like speeds because of their distance from the main exchanges in areas such as Truro and St Austell, and also because of the ancient copper connections being used for internet access.
 
Below is an example of some of the old copper BT has pulled out of the ground since it began its work, underlining the need for new and improved fibre services.
 
Ancient copper strands taken from ground in Cornwall by BT

Of course bringing fibre to the entirety of Cornwall is no easy feat, given the remote nature of the county. BT has had to make use of some more novel approaches to fibre deployment, most notably stringing it from telegraph poles and down into people's homes (pictured below and shown above in first image).

BT fibre telegraph pole in Cornwall with warning 

This offers a full fibre to the premises (FTTP) service where speeds can hit 330Mbit/s and this rollout has been used in large parts of Falmouth on the south coast, to save time and money by removing the need to repeatedly dig up roads to connect premises.

BT fibre box on a telegraph pole in Cornwall

As well as businesses benefitting from the rollout, more artistic operations can take place too – with the University College of Falmouth campus in Tremough using superfast connections to link its Yahama piano to others across the world.

This enables someone playing the piano in Falmouth to also ‘play’ pianos in other parts of the world, such as the US, Japan and Germany, so concerts can be held simultaneously.

Falmouth college of arts Yamaha piano that uses fibre connections

 

The entire project should be completed by June 2014 at which time Cornwall will be one of the most leading edge rural areas for superfast broadband services in the world. And with BT demoing 10Gbit/s service during our Cornish tour, there's clearly more to come.

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