Ottery one of few rural areas selected for broadband trial

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Woman with red manicure using smartphone. Horizontal photo - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Residents in Ottery could enjoy broadband speeds up to 18 times faster than the current UK average after a new trial was announced.

Openreach engineers will be working in several towns to test a range of new tools and techniques as they install the latest 'full' fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband.

Ottery has been selected as one of the rural areas to test the new broadband, with the first homes and businesses expected to be able to order their new FTTP broadband services in time for Christmas. Work will continue throughout next year.

Kim Mears, Openreach's managing director for infrastructure, said: "This is a really important trial for Openreach and it's great that Devon is set to play a leading role.

"We understand the importance of bringing great connectivity to rural communities, and as well as providing fantastic broadband for people living in Okehampton and Ottery St Mary, we hope this provides us with the platform to extend our reach to hundreds of thousands more rural premises in the coming years.

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"We have already done a lot in Devon, through our partnership with local authorities and by joining forces with a number of communities who have asked to work directly with us. But we know there is more to do and we can't waited to get started."

The broadband trial is part of Openreach's ambition to extend its FTTP network into areas that were considered more difficult or expensive for the private sector to upgrade commercially.

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The firm hopes the areas could become eligible for being included in Openreach's 'Fibre First' investment programme in the years ahead - if the right investment conditions are met.

Clive Selley, chief executive of Openreach, said: "In recent years we've been extending our full fibre network into rural areas - mostly in partnership with local authorities and Government - but the economics are clearly challenging and we want to do more... The trials will also give us a much clearer picture of what the technical challenges in these kinds of rural areas are.

"We hope they will go a long way towards developing the tools, skills and innovations required to make sure that nobody's left behind in the full fibre future."

When the build is complete, people in Ottery will have access to download speeds of up to one gigabit per second

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