Residents and businesses in Pucklechurch and Wick will be among the first to benefit from a multi-million pound partnership between South Gloucestershire Council, BT and Wiltshire Council.
The rollout will see 94 per cent of premises in South Gloucestershire* connected to superfast broadband of 24Mbps and above by the end of March 2015. Once complete, nearly 100 kilometres of fibre cabling will be laid across the district, delivering over 50 new fibre cabinets. Pucklechurch and Wick are the first villages to be announced and residents and businesses will be able to order fibre broadband from spring 2014.
This announcement marks the beginning of the roll out of fibre broadband by the partnership. More than 5,000 homes and businesses in South Gloucestershire will be able to connect to fibre broadband by June 2014 as the project rolls out to other areas in the district.
The £35.6 million project is one of the first in the country to deliver broadband to communities and businesses thanks to a partnership between the two councils and BT, along with funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.
Cllr John Goddard, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Resources Sub-Committee said: “We are delighted to see high-speed broadband being rolled out to our residents and businesses and it is great that Wick and Pucklechurch are among the first villages to benefit in the country, thanks to our partnership with Wiltshire Council and BT. Internet usage for our rural communities will be transformed thanks to faster broadband speeds while businesses will benefit from increased file storage and processing, for example. These improvements will ensure South Gloucestershire continues to be recognised as a great place to live, work and do business.”
Bill Murphy, managing director next generation networks for BT Group, said: “The arrival of high-speed fibre broadband will be a major step forward for these villages. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband. The fact that rural communities, such as Wick and Pucklechurch, will be among the first to benefit from this partnership demonstrates our collective determination to get this exciting technology to more challenging locations, which fall outside the private sector’s commercial plan.”
Case study – Jack Crew, Openreach Customer Services Engineer Apprentice
Jack, 22, (pictured) lives in Hinton, South Gloucestershire. Born and brought up in the area, he attended Sir Bernard Lovell Secondary School in Oldland Common.
When he left school in 2007, Jack completed an apprenticeship in stonemasonry, qualifying in 2010. While he enjoyed the work the income was unpredictable so he looked for other opportunities.
He applied for a position as an Openreach apprentice, attracted by the learning and development the scheme offers, and the promise of a full time job at the end of the two-year apprenticeship provided he achieves the necessary level at each assessment stage.
He said: “Being out and about meeting people is one of the best things about my job, and even just spreading the news that fibre is coming is really exciting. The customer satisfaction is second to none when they see the difference fibre makes to their broadband speeds. I can’t wait to get started connecting my village – and the surrounding area – to fibre. There are lots of businesses here and I am proud to be part of something that will make such a positive difference to them.”
Jack is due to complete his apprenticeship with Openreach, BT’s local network business, next month.
For more details about the broadband project visit our websitewww.southglos.gov.uk/broadband
Notes to Editors
A photo/broadcast opportunity takes place this morning in Wick at 9.30am where Cllr John Goddard, Bill Murphy and Jack Crew will be available for interview.
Further details in the operational note.
*The partnership builds on BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband, which will make the high-speed technology available to 89,000 homes and businesses in South Gloucestershire by the end of spring 2014.