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Broadband speeds set to soar in rural business park in Staffordshire

News   •   Jan 25, 2017 09:58 GMT

Left to right Paul Chatwin (Staffordshire County Council), Roger Harris and Ian Binks (BT regional manager)

A business park near Stone, in Staffordshire, is to become the second location in the county to benefit from a new initiative designed to help more people – especially in rural areas - get superfast fibre broadband.

It is the second community fibre partnership deal to be spearheaded by Staffordshire County Council and BT through Superfast Staffordshire, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Around 35 small businesses based at Brookside Business Park in Coldmeece will be able to access some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country when the upgrade work is completed.

The project is being co-funded by business park owner Roger Harris and Staffordshire County Council and BT, as part of the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out of superfast fibre broadband. Additional investment is coming from Openreach, BT’s local network business, through BT’s Community Fibre Partnership programme.

This new deal for Brookside Business Park follows a similar agreement with residents in the hamlet of nearby Cotwalton, which became the first Staffordshire community to sign up for this innovative co-funding approach near the end of last year.

Staffordshire County Council launched the Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund as part of its plans to reach the final four per cent of county premises not currently part of any public or private sector fibre broadband upgrade plans.

The deal involves the use of of Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, which is capable of delivering ultrafast download speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second and upload speeds of up to 220 megabits per second (Mbps)*.

Engineers from Openreach are expected to complete the extensive upgrade work by Spring 2018.

Roger Harris, owner of the Brookside Business Park, said: “This community fibre partnership approach is a great way to ensure small, rural businesses get access to the same technology as those based in towns and cities.

“Making ultrafast fibre broadband available to the firms based here in Brookside Business Park will help them remain competitive and operate even more effectively, without having to leave their countryside base. At the same time it could appeal to other businesses who might be looking for a move to a new site in a more rural location where access and parking is less of a problem.”

Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, said: “The great thing about our co-funding fibre partnerships is that any small community can benefit – home-owners and business communities alike. I would therefore urge other communities and businesses who find themselves in a similar situation to consider this option.

“We hope to be able to work with more local people and organisations across the county to collaboratively fund similar projects so even more of our smallest communities and businesses can access high-speed fibre broadband in the future.

“We are making every effort to ensure as many communities in Staffordshire are able to connect to high-speed broadband as possible, meaning they are better connected and able to access more employment, education and leisure opportunities.”

Details of how to check if you are eligible for help with funding fibre broadband are available on the Superfast Staffordshire website: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk

So far Superfast Staffordshire has enabled around 70,000 households and businesses to connect to superfast broadband speeds. The figure rises to more than 469,000** when combined with commercial fibre roll-outs by private sector companies, such as BT.

Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director for infrastructure delivery, said: “Partnerships like this help us to bring high-speed connections to challenging areas that the private sector would have difficulty reaching alone.

“More than 92 per cent of the UK can access superfast speeds today, and we’re committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible in the UK. That’s why we’re investing in hundreds of similar projects across the UK, working in partnership with business and residential communities to deliver faster speeds from a wide choice of competing internet service providers.

“I have no doubt that Brookside Business Park will see real benefits thanks to the faster connectivity and variety of services we’re delivering.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, said: “Every day we’re hearing how fibre broadband is changing people’s lives for the better. Whether someone is working from home or running a business that involves sharing large amounts of information or updating their website regularly, or a family wanting to connect different devices to the internet at the same time, everything is easier, better and quicker with this new technology.”

More information about BT’s Community Fibre Partnership programme is available from: www.communityfibre.bt.com

Notes to Editors

*Superfast Staffordshire is deploying a mixture of technologies.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) – being rolled out in Cotwalton - provides superfast fibre broadband direct into a building, and is capable of delivering download speeds up to 1 Gigabit and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps.

Last Spring Lymedale Business Centre in Newcastle-Under-Lyme became the first place to get FTTP as part of Superfast Staffordshire.

Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and download speeds of up to 20Mbps.

These are the top wholesale speeds available from BT’s local network business Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

People can find out more about the Superfast Staffordshire programme at: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk

**Source: www.thinkbroadband.co.uk

---ends---

Issued by Staffordshire County Council and BT.

For further information about this news release Tom Hobbins at the Staffordshire County Council press office on 01785 276832 or email: tom.hobbins@staffordshire.gov.uk

OrEmma Tennant at the BT Regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

All BT news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre

Photos of the roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire can be downloaded for free from: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1eZqD3

About Superfast Staffordshire

Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BDUK and BT. It builds on the commercial roll-outs in the county.

The first phase of the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out programme represents an investment of more than £27 million (£7.44 million from Staffordshire County Council, £7.44m from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK and £12.47m from BT.)

Staffordshire County Council has received an extra £2.4m from BT following higher than expected take-up of fibre broadband. This will be used along with a further £1.6m from unallocated funding combined with cost efficiency savings during contract 1, and an additional £1.4m Capex from BT to deliver further fibre coverage. This £5.1m will extend the current Superfast Extension Programme by the further 12 months, delivering an additional 6,200 superfast premises.

For those premises not included in the fibre footprint, Superfast Staffordshire is aiming to improve broadband speeds using alternative technologies and community fibre co-funding partnerships.

About Superfast Britain

Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department for 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:

  1. £790m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017;
  2. £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities; and
  3. £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: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

    About Openreach

    Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges.Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.

    About BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 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 of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

    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