(Herald, The (Plymouth, England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ANOTHER 12,000 city homes and businesses are to be connected to superfast fibre broadband.
Engineers from telecoms giant BT will connect Devonport households and firms to the network in the next few weeks.
This takes the number of premises with access to fibre broadband in the Plymouth area to about 76,000.
And further expansion is in the pipeline with Plymstock and St Budeaux due to be upgraded next year.
Across the South West more than 1.4million premises will be able to benefit from BT's Pounds 2.5billion Openreach fibre broadband roll-out programme by the end of 2013.
BT is to announce further UK locations that will benefit from its commercial rollout of fibre broadband soon.
The company is also seeking to work with the public sector to reach parts of the South West outside its commercial plans.
Jon Reynolds, BT South West regional director, said: "Research suggests that within 15 years fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by Pounds 143 million and create 225 jobs, 140 startup businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers. "As about a million UK households and businesses have already discovered, fibre broadband opens a new world to internet users and offers huge benefits for businesses and public services.
"The arrival of fibre broadband in Devonport can help firms, opening new ways of working and speeding vital operations, such as file and data transfers, conferencing and computer back-up, which may also help cut costs."
BT's fibre "footprint" passes more than 12million UK homes and businesses. It is expanding and due to pass two-thirds of UK premises - around 19 million - during Spring 2014, at least 18 months ahead of its original timetable.
"We're keen to work with the public sector to extend fibre broadband to the parts of the country that are harder to reach.
"Reaching two-thirds of the country early will mean we're well positioned to place a greater focus on the challenge of the final third."
Tudor Evans, leader of Plymouth City Council, said: "It is increasingly important for areas to have access to the highest broadband speeds possible, particularly for business as it is another way of developing and reaching new customers.
"It is also important for potential investors interested in relocating here.
"Letting them know they have access to the latest communications technology to help businesses run more efficiently, has to be good for Devonport, the city and growth."
Openreach, BT's network business, is primarily deploying fibre- to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where fibre runs from the exchange to a roadside cabinet.
FTTC offers download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps3 and could deliver even faster speeds in future.
From Spring 2013 Openreach aims to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where fibre runs to the home or business, commercially available on demand in any area where fibre broadband has been deployed.
FTTP-on-demand will offer the top current download speed of 330Mbps3. Regulator Ofcom said the current average UK broadband speed is 9Mbps.
Fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online.
A music album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst highresolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.
Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis.
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