St Ives (Cambridgeshire) in line for £3 million full fibre broadband boost

News that St Ives in Cambridgeshire is next in line to benefit from Openreach’s full fibre broadband build is being welcomed by the Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council.

Councillor Ryan Fuller met up with representatives from the UK’s largest broadband network – used by customers of the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen - to find out more about their multi-million pound full fibre build, which St Neots (2020) and Ramsey (2021) are already a part of.

Last month, it was revealed that around 10,000 premises in St Ives will now benefit, as Openreach engineers build a new fibre network directly from the exchange to local homes and businesses. Work is due to get underway in the next couple of years and will future-proof connections for decades to come, by providing access to some of the fastest and most reliable broadband speeds in Europe.

Full fibre broadband offers download speeds of one gigabit per second (1Gbps), which means it’s up to 10 times faster than the average home broadband connection. This means faster game downloads, better quality video calls and higher resolution movie streaming are possible.

It’s also less affected by peak time congestion and it allows people to use multiple devices at once without the connection slowing down. That means more people can get online at the same time without experiencing stuttering, buffering or dropouts.

After meeting Openreach in St Ives, Huntingdonshire District Council Leader, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: “We welcome this significant investment by Openreach in St Ives, and their commitment to rolling out full-fibre broadband in other parts of Huntingdonshire. Digital connectivity is transforming the way we live and we don’t want to be left behind here in Huntingdonshire so we have been working with Openreach to support the roll out of full-fibre broadband to help deliver what our communities need to be fit for the future.”

Kasam Hussain, Openreach’s regional partnership director for the East, said: “We’re really proud to be at the forefront of the full fibre build here in Cambridgeshire. Across the UK, our engineers make full fibre broadband available to a new home, on average, every 13 seconds. Being able to build this quickly means we’ve already reached 40,000 homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire, including 9,700 across Huntingdonshire. But that’s just the start.

Our full fibre work builds on an incredibly positive last few years for broadband in the county, where we’ve worked closely with the county council’s Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership. We know there is more to do and communities not currently in a build plan should check our regular announcements for any updates.”

Councillor Fuller heard how:

·        St Ives is joining Ramsey and St Neots, both of which are already in Openreach’s build plans

·        More than 9,700 premises in Huntingdonshire and 42,000 across Cambridgeshire already have access to full fibre broadband with tens of thousands of homes and businesses already using the new network

·        Openreach uses innovative and advanced engineering techniques to work quickly, minimise disruption to residents, and wherever possible uses its existing poles and duct network

·        Openreach is recruiting more than 400 engineers across the East of England this year, to support the build plans – including around 60 in Cambridgeshire

·        Most engineers in the area are trained in Cambridgeshire, at Openreach’s flagship training centre in Peterborough, which includes 15 classrooms, two pole training fields and a mock street where engineers can learn their skills in a safe and controlled environment. Around 13,000 of Openreach’s engineers carry out training at Peterborough in a typical year

Research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) highlighted the clear economic benefits of connecting everyone in the East of England to full fibre. It estimated this would create a £5.4 billion boost to the local economy.

But Openreach’s role in the region is not just limited to making full fibre available. More than 3,500 of the team live and work in the East of England.