Which town/city has the fastest broadband connection in the UK at the moment? That would be somewhere like London right? Or maybe Birmingham? If not, then perhaps Glasgow?
Believe it or not, the answer lies far from the UK’s bustling bright lights. Those who guessed any of the leading lights above couldn’t be more wrong. Instead, we have to look to sleepy old Cornwall, that forgotten backwater in the Southwest.
While it may not look like the most technologically-advanced of places, the quaint, picturesque, seaside town of St. Agnes is currently enjoying the fastest internet speeds out of any place in the UK.
Last year, St. Agnes was quietly chosen by BT as the perfect place in which to conduct a pioneering trial of the new, ‘faster-than-fast” Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) broadband internet. Today, we can reveal that the trial has been so successful with local businesses, that BT are now planning to roll-out the new technology across the nation.
BT have high hopes of making FTTP available to communications providers throughout the country, to more than 90% of households, by spring of next year, replacing the older Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) broadband.
The FTTP trials in Cornwall have been an instant hit, according to Nigel Ashcroft of the Superfast Cornwall for Cornwall Development Company:
“It is great news that this innovative trial among businesses in St Agnes has proved such a success. The feedback from businesses has been overwhelmingly positive. Cornwall is leading the UK with a pioneering initiative. Super-fast broadband is vital to the future prosperity of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly, and the UK as a whole.”
BT says that the introduction of FTTP across the UK will give users lightning-fast internet connection speeds of up to 300 Mbps, a number that far surpasses the current average broadband speed of 7.6 Mbps.
Key to St. Agnes’ economy is tourism, and businesses in this sector have been extremely positive about the impact of FTTP. The faster broadband speeds allow small-to-mid-sized business to quickly send and receive large amounts of data over the internet, something that simply wasn’t possible to do before and which businesses claim is making a huge contribution to their success.
BT’s intention to make FTTP available to all by early next year far exceed the company’s original stated goal of supplying super-fast broadband to over two-thirds of UK homes by 2015, a plan which was backed by a £2.5 billion investment at the time.
As part of the original plan, BT was adopted as the private sector delivery partner for the Superfast Cornwall Programme, a £132 million project designed to boost local tourism and other economic sectors, which will see all homes and businesses in the county provided with high-speed broadband by 2014.
In addition to its investment in FTTP, BT are also planning an upgrade to current FTTC speeds, which would see them double from an average 40 Mbps to around 80 Mbps.
Olivia Garland, CEO of BT’s Openreach programme, told This Is Cornwall that improvement of FTTC services is a significant development for broadband internet in the UK, and would ensure that residential homes have world class connection speeds to cater for all of their needs.