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Southwark Council and Openreach work together to bring ultrafast broadband to the borough

18 March 2022

Residents and businesses in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey will be the first to enjoy gigabit-capable ultrafast, fibre-optic broadband thanks to a new agreement between Southwark Council and Openreach, which will see £20 million invested in the borough’s digital infrastructure.

Over the next five years, this investment will deliver fibre-optic cables from local exchanges to the front doors of residents and businesses throughout Southwark. Replacing existing copper wires, Fibre-to-the-Premises technology (FTTP) or 'Full Fibre', can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gigabit and beyond, 10 times faster than average speeds today.

To mark the start of this ambitious roll-out, Southwark Council Leader, Cllr Kieron Williams met with Theo Blackwell from the Greater London Authority (GLA) and Kieran Wines from Openreach at Astley House in Rowcross Street Road, Bermondsey, where Full Fibre broadband is being installed.

The programme is part of the council’s successful digital infrastructure programme which has helped to attract around £100 million investment over the last four years. Openreach’s dedicated five year investment will help resolve the poor connectivity issues Southwark has faced for a number of years, with Rotherhithe currently identified as one of the worst connected areas in the borough.  The project will also tackle connectivity not-spots in areas such as Peckham and Dulwich. The new fibre-optic cables aren't affected by bad weather and are far less likely to slow down, or 'drop out' as existing broadband connections might. 

The council is keen to identify which areas need improvement and has developed its own Connectivity Heatmap Connectivity Heatmap - Southwark Council, where residents can complete a survey to share their broadband speeds and mobile connectivity.

Cllr Kieron Williams, Leader of Southwark Council said: “The future is digital and we have made it a priority to ensure Southwark’s residents and businesses are among the best connected in London. In the past Southwark experienced the worst broadband speeds in London and is now the third most connected borough, and we’re on course to future-proof our digital infrastructure for the next 30 years.

“Working with Openreach will bring much faster broadband speeds for everyone, whether they are downloading music or films, accessing public services or running their own business. Better connectivity plays an important part in the long-term economic development of the borough, as we bounce back from the pandemic. We are also committed to tackling digital exclusion so everyone can enjoy the benefits of full fibre such as lending out broadband routers at our libraries and digital skills events.”

Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer for London said: “We know how important it is for people to be able to get online easily so they can learn new skills, work from home, access key services and keep in touch with friends and family. Thanks to this new agreement between Southwark Council and Openreach, Londoners in Rotherhithe and Bermondsey will be able to enjoy some of London’s fastest broadband speeds and more reliable internet connectivity.”

Kieran Wines, Openreach's Partnership Director for London, said: "Great connectivity has never been more important and Openreach is pleased to be investing in gold standard Ultrafast Full Fibre across Southwark.  Through our multi-million pound investment, more than 35,000 homes and businesses across the borough can already order a gigabit-capable service on the Openreach network through a provider of their choice. It's great that we're making this technology available to more people through our partnership with Southwark Council."

A map of Openreach's commercial plans in Southwark is available at www.openreach.com/fibre-broadband/fibre-first and to find out whether Full Fibre is available at your home or business, check your postcode at www.openreach.com

Page last updated: 18 March 2022

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