Cranfield set for UK’s fastest broadband


Broadband infrastructure supplier Openreach is to use Cranfield as a test-bed for the UK’s fastest internet access.

The village already enjoys superfast broadband thanks to investment from Central Bedfordshire Council’s Broadband Rollout Programme. But Openreach has announced the village will be one of 13 rural towns and villages nationally to trial the fastest possible broadband service.

The council’s Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Corporate Services, Cllr Richard Wenham, said: “This is welcome news and is only made possible by our long-standing investment to bring fibre-optic internet across Central Bedfordshire – a project we began back in 2012.

“If the trial is successful, by April next year Cranfield residents and businesses will have access to one gigabit per second download speeds. This is because we subsidised the cost for Openreach in installing a fibre-optic network in the village.

“And while most of us may not need that kind of blazing speed immediately, with technologies on the horizon like 8K TV, the trial means Cranfield will be future-proofed.”

The key to the village’s upgrade is to allow homes and businesses to be connected using all fibre-optic cable. Currently the last connection to the internet is BT’s copper telephone wiring which imposes a ceiling on download speeds.

Added Cllr Wenham: “In lay terms, you’ve currently got this lightning fast network going past your house but you can only connect with it in a way which slows it right down.

“Taking full advantage means laying a new, separate fibre-optic cable to your premises from the nearest part of the existing fibre-optic network.”

During the trials Openreach say they will also be using new tools and techniques to reduce the cost of bringing fibre broadband to remote rural areas.

Explained Cllr Wenham: “The company says they hope to reduce the cost of bringing broadband to rural areas which naturally is of interest to us and our local partners in the subsidy scheme – Luton and Bedford Borough Councils, Milton Keynes Council, and the government’s Building Digital UK - as we continue to roll it out.”

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