Rollout of ultrafast broadband is hailed as ‘fantastic news’

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The two towns have been chosen along with 27 others by Openreach, the broadband subsidiary of BT, for new ‘Fibre to the Premises [FTTP]’ connections.

And for those who already subscribe to broadband it will not cost any more money, unless you are with Virgin Media which is provided via separate infrastructure.

Openreach say the new technology is capable of delivering ‘one gigabyte per second’ download speeds – some of the fastest in the UK.

Once installed, any of the 680 Internet Service Providers that use Openreach infrastructure, including Sky, BT, Talk Talk and EE, will be able to start offering it to their customers.

This will mean people in both Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge will be able to download a two-hour movie in just 25 seconds – or the entire first season of the hit BBC show Peaky Blinders ‘in the time it takes to make a cup of tea’.

A spokesperson for Openreach, told the Times: “We own 90 per cent of the UK’s broadband infrastructure.

“We work with local authorities as part of our commercial programme. It will not cost the people of Tunbridge Wells or Tonbridge anything. It is Openreach’s investment to bring the latest Internet infrastructure to the people in these areas.”

The company say work will get underway in the next twelve to eighteen months and is part of Openreach’s target of reaching four million homes and business by the end of March 2021.

Openreach have not yet given any details as to when particular streets and areas in Tunbridge Wells and Tonbridge will be getting plugged into the new service. But the news was welcomed by the two local authorities.

Cllr Jane March, Tunbridge Council’s head of Economic Development said: “This is very welcome news as enhanced connectivity will benefit both residents and businesses.”

While Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Council, Nicolas Heslop, added: “This is fantastic news. The Council, both as part of the West Kent Partnership and through our own drive to support the local economy, has been lobbying for some time to improve broadband connectivity for our residents and businesses.

“It’s a great boost for the local area, and hopefully just the start of our journey towards benefitting from world-class communications infrastructure.”

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