Around 40,000 more Bedfordshire homes and businesses are set to benefit from a broadband boost in the region of £16m thanks to Openreach – the UK’s largest broadband network provider.
People living and working a number of locations – including Leighton Buzzard, Flitwick, Biggleswade and Sandy - are all set to benefit from the company’s national upgrade plan, with the majority of premises in each area gaining access to the latest Ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre broadband.
It shows that Leighton Buzzard and Billington and due for completion by April 2024, with Heath and Reach and villages such as Mentmore, Cheddington and Ivinghoe by December 2026.
The news comes hot on the heels of a similar announcement last month, when 380,000 premises - in 154 mainly rural and harder to serve areas across the region - were also included in Openreach’s build plan.
Both announcements build on Openreach’s existing work in the region, where more than 350,000 homes and businesses can already order ultrafast, ultra-reliable full fibre broadband.
Following a competitive tender process, a number of partners – including John Henry Group and MAP Group - were chosen by Openreach to support the upgrades and will play a crucial role in building the new network to thousands of premises in these locations.
Kieran Wines, Openreach’s regional director for the East of England, said: “Nobody in the UK is building full fibre faster, further or at a higher quality than Openreach. We’re reaching more communities than ever and our team of highly-skilled engineers, alongside our build partners, are working hard to deliver some of the fastest and most reliable broadband available anywhere in the world.
“Just last month we announced 154 rural and hard to reach locations across the East of England were to benefit, so it’s great that we’re able to reveal another huge broadband boost for the region with these additional locations.
“The latest details and timescales are available on our website as the build planning progresses.”
Jonny Wilson, Programme Director at John Henry Group, said: “This is fantastic news for Openreach, the John Henry Group and ultimately the customer. At the John Henry Group, we are working very closely with Openreach to enable this build ambition in to a reality.
"Scaling this ambition will require investment in a number of key aspects, including new opportunities for an entry level demographic. The UK telecoms industry is only going to grow in the coming years, and for everyone here at the John Henry group, being part of this build commitment with Openreach is one we are thoroughly looking forward to.”
Sarb Singh, Director of Operations, Map Group (UK) Limited, added: "MAP Group (UK) is delighted to be working alongside Openreach. We share a common goal to build the best possible network with the highest quality of service and courtesy to householders and businesses. The upgrade will vastly improve download speeds and the quality of video calls and streaming. We are proud to be associated with what is being seen as significant step on the road back to economic recovery after the Covid lockdown."
The company’s updated build plan will be fundamental to the UK Government achieving its target of delivering ‘gigabit capable’ broadband to 85 per cent of UK by 2025 and it follows an extended investment commitment by its parent, BT Group – which means Openreach will now build Full Fibre technology to a total of 25 million premises, including more than six million in the hardest-to-serve parts of the country by the end of 2026.