Tiverton and Honiton MP urges Cullompton residents to pool Government-backed vouchers to deliver more ultrafast broadband

MP visits Cullompton to learn about Openreach initiative to extend rural next-generation network build

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton has visited Cullompton to meet engineers who are working to install ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband in the town.

Mr Parish was greeted by Openreach CEO, Clive Selley; he then viewed new equipment in the local exchange and visited a residential street where he learned how Full Fibre technology will bring gigabit speeds to local homes and businesses. He also met trainee engineer Florence Dilliway, who lives in Cullompton and has just completed the first few weeks of training at Openreach.

Florence told Mr Parish about Openreach’s bid to bring ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband to even more local homes and businesses in the area. The company is urging residents and businesses to consider pooling broadband vouchers available from the UK Government to help extend the build even further – and Florence was one of the first residents to pledge.

Residents who don’t already have access to a 100Mbps broadband service can check if they may qualify and pledge their voucher on the Connect My Community website

The vouchers can be combined to extend the ultrafast, ultra-reliable network to premises in outlying rural areas which won’t be covered by private investment.

Connie Dixon, Openreach’s Partnership Director for the West said: “It was wonderful to meet Mr Parish, give him a tour of our Full Fibre deployment in Cullompton and tell him more about this exciting opportunity to bring Full Fibre infrastructure to the very hardest-to-reach local addresses.

“Because we’ve already committed to build Full Fibre to most of the town, the UK government is supporting this incremental approach to help us to go even further. But it’s only possible with everyone working together – you, your neighbours and Openreach.

“Everyone who pledges a voucher will be doing their bit to help make Cullompton one of the best-connected places in the South West. Pledging couldn’t be simpler, but we need residents – and especially businesses - to act quickly – as the scheme closes in March 2021.”

Connie added, “We’re investing £12 billion to build Full Fibre broadband to 20 million homes – and more than three million of those will be in the toughest third of the UK – but we can’t upgrade the whole country alone. This latest support from government, alongside help to remove red tape and barriers that slow down the build, is vital.”

To claim vouchers which contribute towards the cost of building the new network, residents are asked to commit to ordering a Full Fibre service from a provider of their choice for at least 12 months once the new network is available.

Eligible residents qualify for up to £1,500 for rural homes and up to £3,500 for small and medium-sized businesses under the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Neil Parish, MP backed the initiative, saying: “Better broadband is essential for rural communities and I’m doing everything I can to help improve connectivity in the South West. Rural communities are more dependent than ever on access to fast broadband and Full Fibre technology will make a huge difference to local residents and businesses. It makes sense for the local build programme to be extended as far as possible; and I urge businesses and residents to sign up and support this scheme to ensure everyone in Cullompton has the opportunity to benefit from the latest advances in digital technology.”

UK Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said: “We're committed to levelling up communities across the UK with lightning-fast gigabit broadband that will improve lives and boost the economy.

"The broadband vouchers on offer provide immediate financial help for people to get next-generation speeds by covering the installation costs of companies such as Openreach. I urge people to check online if they are eligible for a broadband boost."

Full Fibre technology provides more reliable, resilient and future-proof connectivity; meaning fewer faults; more predictable, consistent speeds and enough capacity to easily meet growing data demands. It's also futureproofed, which means it will serve generations to come and won’t need to be upgraded for decades.

Fibre optics - strands of glass around one-tenth the thickness of a human hair - transmit data using light signals. Fibre is smaller, lighter and more durable than copper cabling and less vulnerable to damage. This short video explains what Full Fibre technology is and there’s more info here.

Ten fantastic Full Fibre facts:

  1. Connecting everyone in the South West to ‘Full Fibre’ broadband by 2025 would create a £4.3 billion boost to the region’s economy.
  2. Fibre optics are strands of glass around one tenth the thickness of a human hair. They transmit data using light signals.
  3. A single strand of fibre can provide enough capacity to serve up to 32 individual properties with Gigabit speeds.
  4. Pure fibre optic broadband can run at speeds of 1 Gigabit per second (1000Mbps) – that’s more than 15 times faster than today’s UK average broadband speed. You can download a two-hour HD film in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea. And video gamers could download a 5-gigabyte virtual reality (VR) game in 1.7 minutes, instead of waiting half an hour.
  5. More people getting online at the same time is easier too – a family of four can all stream ultra HD or 4k quality video simultaneously, without waiting or buffering.
  6. Full Fibre is more reliable than traditional copper connections. A Full Fibre broadband signal isn’t affected by external interference whereas copper can be impacted by outside electrical signals – including electric fences, old TVs and even bad weather! One recent report stated ‘that ‘Full Fibre’ is 70%-80% more reliable than copper resulting in lower fault rates.’
  7. A fibre optic cable can send a signal over 120 miles without any real loss of quality. Traditional copper cables can lose signal at around one mile.
  8. Full Fibre is better for the environment – the amount of electricity used to power fibre is significantly less than needed for copper cables. Better connectivity also enables more people to work from home – which cuts down on commuting. Research suggests fibering up the whole of the UK could save 300 million commuting trips – reducing carbon emissions by 360,000 tonnes.
  9. Full Fibre can boost business productivity. It enables cheaper broadband powered phone services, and better access to cloud-based computing services. For example, Full Fibre connectivity combined with cloud computing means businesses can upload, store, access and download vast amounts of data in minutes instead of hours. Data is backed up and securely archived off-site so not relying on costly, ageing servers taking up expensive office space.
  10. Full Fibre broadband will be crucial in supporting plans to give NHS patients access to ‘virtual clinics’ where patients who don’t physically need to come hospital can get a video consultation with their doctor. It can also allow hospitals to share HD quality graphics of medical scans in seconds to improve diagnosis speeds. For example, medical staff can download a 2 gigabyte CT scan in 40 seconds, instead of 14 minutes.
About Openreach

Openreach Limited is the UK’s digital network business.  

We’re more than 35,000 people, working in every community to connect homes, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, mobile phone masts, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. 

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in the UK can be connected. 

We work on behalf of more than 665 communications providers like BT, SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and Zen, and our broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more than 31.8m premises. 

Over the last decade we’ve invested more than £15 billion into our network and, at more than 190 million kilometres – it’s now long enough to wrap around the world 4,798 times. 

Today we’re building an even faster, more reliable and future-proof broadband network which will be the UK’s digital platform for decades to come. We’re making progress towards our full fibre optic network target to reach 25 million premises by December 2026. Research shows a nationwide Full Fibre network could potentially provide a £59bn boost to UK productivity.

To help build the new fibre network and deliver better service across the country – we’ve created and filled more than 9,000 apprenticeship roles in the last two years and we’re recruiting another 1,000 trainee roles in Openreach in 2021. We’re also building greener – we operate the UK’s second largest commercial fleet and want to help lead the transition to electric vehicles, with a target to transition our fleet to being electric in 2030. 

Openreach is a highly regulated, wholly owned, and independently governed unit of the BT Group. More than 90 per cent of our revenues come from services that are regulated by Ofcom and any company can access our products under equivalent prices, terms and conditions. 

For the year ended 31 March 2021, we reported revenue of £5,244m.

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