Skip to main content

Superfast showcase launched to help businesses join the fibre broadband revolution

Press Release   •   Jun 25, 2013 00:00 BST

Superfast Lancashire project rolls out fibre to hundreds more homes and businesses in Leyland. 

Civic and business leaders celebrate official opening of Superfast Lancashire Business Support Centre; 

EVENT: Council leaders join representatives from BT, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and local businesses for the official opening of the Superfast Lancashire Business Support Centre. 

The centre is run by a team of specialists who will advise small and medium sized businesses across the county how to get the most from superfast broadband and related technology through a series of workshops and hands-on demonstrations at the centre’s purpose-built showcase. 

The opening coincides with news that more than 400 more homes and businesses in Leyland will have access to fibre broadband by the end of June. This is a result of the multi-million pound Superfast Lancashire partnership project to make high-speed broadband available to 97 per cent of Lancashire homes and businesses by the end of 2015. 

DATE: Tuesday, June 25. TIME: 9.30 – 11am. 

VENUE: Superfast Lancashire Business Support Centre, Offices 1 and 2, The Gatehouse, Lancashire Business Park, Centurion Way, Leyland, PR26 6TZ. 

Superfast Lancashire has today launched a state-of- the- art Business Support Centre showcasing a host of hi-tech business applications designed to help businesses get the most from superfast broadband. 

Based at the Lancashire Business Park, in Leyland, the purpose-built e-business suite will provide a specialised ‘teach-in’ centre for businesses to learn first-hand how superfast broadband can help their enterprise. 

The centre represents a significant milestone in the rollout of the £130 million Superfast Lancashire partnership which will make high-speed broadband available to 97 per cent of Lancashire homes and businesses by the end of 2015. 

A team of specially appointed business advisors based at the centre will provide a programme of free support services including one to one consultations, training workshops, and IT business skills master classes 
featuring experts from a variety of fields. These sessions will be free of charge to qualifying small and medium enterprises across the county. 

Superfast Lancashire also announced today that more than 400 homes and businesses in Leyland will have access to fibre broadband (with speeds of up to 80Mbps) – by the end of June. This builds on BT’s own commercial fibre deployment in Leyland. The latest Superfast Lancashire rollout includes two cabinets serving around 40 businesses on the Lancashire Business Park. This is part of the first wave of fibre deployment across the county – connecting more than 10,000 homes and businesses. 

Edwin Booth, Chairman of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, added: “Today’s announcement represents an important stepping stone on the journey to turning our ambition to provide Lancashire’s citizens and business with a world-class broadband service into a reality. 

“For local business the super-fast network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications which are essential for providing our businesses with the ability to compete in today’s increasingly global environment. “ 

Bill Murphy, managing director of Next Generation Access for BT, added: “The showcase is an incredibly important initiative. Faster, fibre based broadband will help local businesses grow, attracting inward investment and boosting the local economy. If they thrive then everyone thrives – small and medium enterprises are the lifeblood of every community, creating jobs and stimulating growth.” 

A series of free business seminars will run from the new business centre, from now until early 2015. Topics covered will include cloud computing, digital marketing, video conferencing, social media and other collaborative tools. 

The seminars are not aimed at committing businesses to signing up to fibre broadband but to ensuring they have the right advice and information about this relatively new technology and its benefits. 

Mark Chamberlain, who runs the Business Support Centre, said: “Superfast broadband gives your business the means to take-up services that can have a very real impact on your bottom line, from cutting out costly investments in IT systems by letting the cloud be your datacentre, to reaching new customers with easier to track communications such as social media. The new Business Support Centre will really help us to teach businesses how to make superfast broadband work for them.” 

The Superfast Lancashire project will use public and private sector funds to deliver high-speed broadband to parts of the country not covered by commercial roll out plans and will see the total amount invested in this technology in Lancashire rise to around £130m, including £16.5m of support from the European Regional Development Fund North West programme. It also includes funds from supporting council partners Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen. The Project will transform the broadband landscape across the county by extending access to high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of the county – around 660, 000 premises by the end of 2015. This will ensure that Lancashire is one of the best connected counties in the UK. 

Superfast Lancashire will also benefit those Lancashire premises which currently receive downstream speeds of less than 2Mbps. Ofcom believes that around 12 per cent of premises in Lancashire currently receive less than 2Mbps but that percentage will plummet to virtually zero as the project will ensure they benefit from faster speeds. 

The local economy will also benefit with the creation of 2,500 jobs and the protection of more than 1,200 jobs over the next few years. The county’s Enterprise Zones are a key priority as super-fast broadband will help local businesses to become even more competitive. 

Openreach engineers from BT have now started work on laying around 2,700 kilometres of optical fibre and installing a total of around 700 new fibre cabinets throughout the Superfast Lancashire broadband project area. It is estimated that engineers will complete over a million man hours of work planning and building the network during the lifetime of the project. 
Superfast Lancashire has launched a new interactive a phone line checker on its website to help people find more information about when out when superfast broadband is likely to be coming to their home or business. 
To find out more or to apply for free Business Support, visit; 
www.superfastlancashire.com 

Notes to Editors 

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 LCC, £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