Tom Keeney, BT’s regionaldDirector for Yorkshire and the Humber, says 2016 will be a landmark year for the region’s digital future!
“These are exciting times for Yorkshire and the Humber. The multi-million pound rollout of superfast fibre broadband is making a huge difference to the lives of people throughout the region.
“It’s one of the largest investments locally in recent times and is transforming the way people use the internet, both at home and at work. But much remains to be done and 2016 will undoubtedly be a landmark year for this vital investment.
“We’ve already seen great progress. Each month during 2015, thousands more premises in the county gained access to this high-speed technology thanks to partnerships between BT, local authorities and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme.
“This programme has complemented BT’s commercial rollout of fibre broadband with the result that around 1.8 million households and businesses across Yorkshire and the Humber can now place an order for the technology, with around 363,000 already having signed up to a fibre broadband package.
“This progress is leading to much faster speeds in many parts of the region. According to the regulator Ofcom, the average broadband speed in nearly every county in the region now exceeds 24Mbps.
“During the next 12 months, we will see the fibre rollout reaching into some of the most challenging rural areas of the region and BT stands ready to play its part.
“And even that is most certainly not the end of the story.
“Our ambition is to ‘never say no’ to any community and we welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with them to find a suitable and affordable fibre broadband solution.
“We’ve set out our vision for the UK’s digital future and the significant contribution we can make, subject to regulatory support and the right policy framework. This pledge is focussed around four key areas – speed, reach, future development of ultrafast broadband and customer service.
“Thousands of UK engineers hired by BT’s local network business, Openreach, in the last 18 months are helping to fix faults and install new lines faster; and a new ‘view my engineer’ service provides text progress updates, as well as the engineer’s name and phone number ahead of any appointment.
“Across the country, fibre broadband is now available to more than 24 million premises – and that number is continuing to grow rapidly. The UK is a broadband leader among major European nations and its position will be boosted further by BT’s plans to get the even more rapid ultrafast broadband to ten million UK premises by the end of 2020 and to the majority of premises within a decade.
“There are also big advances in other communications technologies. People on the move have never felt better connected. The latest fourth generation 4G mobile technology is now widely available across the UK, offering much faster speeds.
“More than 5 million BT Wi-fi hotspots are operating in the country and BT is working in partnership with city councils in many locations on a major initiative to provide improved wi-fi in city centres and other key locations.
“BT has the commitment and ability to make a major contribution to the future success of Yorkshire and the Humber.
“We play a role in every community in the region as a provider of essential services, investor and employer. Indeed, an independent report estimated that BT last year generated £1.13 billion for the economy in Yorkshire and the Humber and supported more than 15,000 jobs.
“The tremendous pace of change and the wonderful opportunities emerging from these new technologies mean we’re looking forward to 2016 with a great sense of excitement.”