By 2014, nearly two-thirds of UK homes and business will have access to superfast broadband, making digital dictation quicker and easier. BT Openreach programme BT has recently announced a further 178 exchanges to be added to its Openreach fibre optic programme, which it is hoped will be finished in 2012. This means an additional 1.8 million homes and businesses will benefit from lightning fast broadband speeds. Once the programme has finished, it is thought that 80% of BT’s commercial fibre footprint will be in place. Olivia Garfield, chief executive officer of Openreach, said: “We continue to make tremendous strides with our fibre programme. Super-fast broadband is already within reach of more than six million premises today and we are on track to pass ten million premises next year. “Our ambitions do not stop there. We will make fibre available to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014 and we want to go even further.”Some of the towns in the North West roll-out include Aintree, Bootle, Churchtown, Great Crosby, Huyton. St Helens and Widnes in Merseyside, Dalton-in-Furness and Kendal in Cumbria, Ardwick in Manchester, Cleveleys and Hesketh Bank in Lancashire, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Hindley and Wigan. Impact on digital dictation BT states that the current average broadband download speed is 6.8MBps, however, most people will find that their average download speed is actually lower than this. The Openreach programme currently offers speeds of 40MBps, but this will double next year and eventually hit the 100MBps mark, meaning using the internet to download files will be a totally different experience. Increased download speeds such as this revolutionize the digital dictation industry, especially for transcription companies such as ourselves. At present, our clients can upload and download files at will, and this will continue to be the case, however the amount of files they upload and download is restricted by their average download speed. Once this increases, and most regions have access to the same level of super-fast broadband, it means that clients will be able to upload and downloads files much quicker, and as a result, productivity levels will increase substantially. For example, a file which is 300MB in size would take most businesses around 1 minute to download (taking their average download speed to be 5MBps). With fibre optic broadband, a file of this size would take 10 seconds to download at current levels and only 3 seconds if this level increases further. While this might not seem a lot in comparison, with volume, it means a lot more files can be uploaded in a day. Also, as faster broadband means more files can be downloaded and uploaded at the same time, something that is difficult to do with larger files at present, it could mean that a business will actually double or even treble the amount of digital dictation they can get through in a day. Image from rq?