SALISBURY is set to become the first city in England to gain access to a new fibre broadband system that will give a boost to residents and businesses.

Openreach announced this morning that it aims to deliver its 'Fibre First' programme in the city from April 2020, which will deliver fibre optic broadband cables from the exchange directly to more than 20,000 premises across Salisbury.

A spokesman for the company said it is working closely with partners across the city to make sure the infrastructure build can happen "at an unrivalled pace and with minimal disruption to local residents".

Salisbury MP John Glen 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.”

Openreach is recruiting 3,000 new trainee engineers across the UK, including 24 new roles in Salisbury, to support its network plans.

CEO Clive Selley 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.

“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.”