Salisbury will become the first city in the country to gain universal access to Openreach’s new Fibre-to-the-Premises broadband technology in what is expected to be the fastest city-wide network build in the UK.
The blanket coverage of the city with 1GB-per-second broadband will be completed by April 2020 – ahead of similar projects in larger cities like London, Leeds, Bristol and Birmingham, which are already underway.
Openreach says that once then the build is complete, 20,000 families, businesses and public buildings across the city of Salisbury will be able to reap the benefits of "fast, reliable and future-proof broadband for decades to come."
Twenty four new trainee engineer roles will be created in the city.
Welcoming the news, the chancellor of the exchequer, Philip Hammond, said: “The growing speed with which we connect online with our families, friends and work colleagues, not only brings us closer together, but it also provides huge benefits for our economy.
“I’m delighted that Salisbury will be the first UK city to gain universal access to the gold-standard of the internet – ultrafast full fibre – making it one of the most cutting-edge cities in the country.
"It’s vital that every family and business across the country can benefit from this new technology, which is why we’ve committed to deliver a nationwide full fibre network by 2033.”
John Glen, MP for Salisbury and South Wiltshire said, “Following early discussions I had with Openreach last year, I am absolutely delighted by their decision to make Salisbury the first Openreach city in the UK to gain access to full fibre broadband.
"Full fibre will significantly improve the attractiveness of Salisbury for companies looking for a location with cutting-edge connectivity, boosting the number of high-quality job opportunities for constituents.
"With speeds of 1Gbps, I very much look forward to seeing how this investment will transform opportunities for local residents and businesses, as well as driving innovation in the provision of public services.”
Clive Selley, CEO at Openreach, said: “Salisbury has a unique and inspiring history - from its medieval sites to its thriving cultural sector, it’s an icon of our national heritage – and now we’re laying the foundations for an even more exciting future.
"The city will be a focal point of our ambition to future proof the UK’s digital infrastructure and boost the country’s economic growth and productivity.
“For Salisbury’s homes, shops, GP surgeries and schools, it will mean fewer broadband faults, faster connections, and a consistent reliable network that will serve the city for decades to come. From home-working to healthcare, digital trade to entertainment, the possibilities that a full fibre network can bring are almost limitless.
“This is the first location in the UK where we’re aiming to upgrade an entire city network in a single year, so it’s a hugely ambitious project.
"As a medieval city, Salisbury’s narrow streets won’t be the easiest for our engineers to access and work in, but we’re confident that it’s achievable thanks to the close partnership we’ve built with the Council and the unrivalled experience and skill of our engineering teams.”
Councillor Pauline Church, cabinet member for economic development and South Wiltshire recovery at Wiltshire Council said: “We are looking forward to fibre broadband coming to Salisbury and enjoying the benefits of full-fibre technology in the city.
“This new network will provide a platform for Salisbury’s future economic and social prosperity, and we welcome Openreach’s commitment to ensure a safe, fast and quality build that minimises disruption in our historic city.”