Christmas is coming early in Poulton this year as the Blackpool Old Road area becomes the latest to benefit from superfast broadband, thanks to the Superfast Lancashire project.
Ben Wallace MP joined carol singers from St John's Primary School, children from the Queensway Pre-school and representatives from Lancashire County Council and BT to officially open the new street-side cabinet, near the library, which will connect local people to the new fibre optic network.
The new cabinet will connect up 176 premises with superfast broadband and is just one of seven new green cabinets due to be switched on in the coming months – serving around 1,500 homes and businesses - with a majority completed early in the new year. This is in addition to BT’s commercial fibre rollout, which currently covers around 60 per cent of premises across the town, as part of its £2.5 billion UK-wide programme.
Across the county, the Superfast Lancashire project will bring high-speed broadband to 97 per cent of Lancashire homes and businesses by the end of 2015. That’s roughly 675,000 premises.
Mr Wallace urged local people to reap the benefits of this major investment in high-speed fibre broadband.
Speaking at the event, Ben Wallace said: “Having campaigned to improve access to broadband for many years, I am delighted to open the cabinet in Poulton which will give many of my constituents access to broadband with speeds of up to 80Mbps per second. This is a vast improvement on the previous speeds and will benefit individuals and local businesses. Local business can really accelerate with the broadband roll out, which will open up a whole new way of doing business. I look forward to the roll out of superfast broadband across Wyre and Preston North and will be monitoring progress closely over the coming months.”
Local people can look forward to download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, enabling them to download and share large files of information, upload photographs, download music, films and television programmes, and surf the internet more quickly than ever before.
IT specialist Barry Bullen, who works for local IT Support business, Smart IT Ltd, welcomed the news saying: “Superfast broadband enables us to extend the scope and capability of our managed service offerings.”
“Much of the support services we provide clients both locally and nationally are carried out by remote connection to client’s computer infrastructure. We also use advanced technology to automatically monitor that infrastructure and alert us to any potential problem before it affects our clients operations. Fast Internet connectivity is therefore a vital component to those services.”
County Councillor Sean Serridge, Champion for Digital Inclusion, said: “We are determined that as many people in Lancashire as possible can benefit from Superfast Lancashire so it is great to see communities like Poulton starting to enjoy the advantages that the project is bringing. I look forward to many more communities getting connected."
Steve Edwards, BT director for Next Generation Access for the north of the UK, added: “The Superfast Lancashire project is about extending fibre broadband to cover the vast majority of areas in the county that are beyond the reach of commercial suppliers – in both rural and urban locations.
“It is crucial that as many areas as possible benefit from the deployment of fibre as the technology increasingly plays an integral part in all our lives and will play a key role in the future success of the Lancashire economy.”
Work on the Superfast Lancashire project is well underway across the county - with a total of around 17,000 homes and businesses expected to be connected to fibre broadband by the end of this year.
Openreach engineers will work on laying around 2,700 kilometres of optical fibre cable and installing a total of around 700 new fibre broadband cabinets throughout the Superfast Lancashire Broadband Project area. It is estimated that engineers will complete over a million hours of work planning and building the network during the lifetime of the project.
The Openreach network is open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis, so residents will be able to choose from a number of different suppliers of fibre broadband.
Superfast Lancashire is a partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT, with additional funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK, as well as the European Regional Development Fund, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council.
In addition to the rollout of high-speed broadband across the county, a Business Support Centre has opened as part of Superfast Lancashire run by a team of specialists to advise small and medium-sized businesses across the county how to use the new technology to enhance their business. More information is available from: www.superfastlancashire.com
Notes to Editors
80Mbps and 20Mbps are wholesale speeds. ISPs may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen by the ISP.
Superfast Lancashire’s Business Support Programme is governed by eligibility criteria defined by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) based on size, primary activity, turnover etc. Businesses will be expected to complete an initial short self-certification form which will be validated by one of the advisors.
The programme will link with other key support initiatives across Lancashire. This will enable businesses to gain from the extended benefits of complementary programmes such as Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, subject to not having exceeded their ERDF allowance.
The Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in partnership with Superfast Lancashire.
BT is contributing £30 million to the project whilst £10.8 million will come from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), £16.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund and £5.2 million from local councils (£4.7m from Lancashire County Council, £300,000 from Blackburn with Darwen Council and £230,000 from Blackpool Council.
This project is part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-and-resources#north-west
BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of four lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2013, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,103m with reported profit before taxation of £2,315m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
For further information: http://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk