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Boost for tourism as Superfast Telford bridges technology gap at historic Ironbridge ahead of schedule

Press Release   •   May 17, 2016 09:34 BST

Boost for tourism as Superfast Telford bridges technology gap at historic Ironbridge ahead of schedule

Hundreds of households and businesses in historic Ironbridge will be able to connect to faster fibre broadband earlier than expected, thanks to the £5.6 million Superfast Telford partnership.

Lead partners Telford & Wrekin Council and BT today confirmed around 500 properties in the area will get access to the technology from the Summer, as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, with many more able to benefit in the months that follow.

It is hoped the arrival of the new technology at the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution around nine months early will be a huge boost for tourism and the local community.

Councillor Shaun Davies, cabinet member for Neighbourhood Services, said: “Making faster fibre broadband available to around 950 households and businesses in Ironbridge has always been a key aim of the partnership.

“Close collaboration with other important projects going on in this sensitive area of the borough, including the upgrading of The Wharfage and Tontine Hill, has enabled us to complete the necessary planning and survey work much earlier than planned and accelerate this part of the Superfast Telford roll-out.”

Colin Bannon, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “Our project teams are working extremely hard to ensure the majority of the engineering work is completed as quickly as possible so many people wanting to order an upgrade can start enjoying the benefits before the main holiday season gets in full swing.

“We also wanted to minimise disruption and maximise opportunities for local businesses, households and visitors at this busy time of the year.”

Superfast Telford began connecting the first homes and businesses just before Christmas. The roll-out has continued at a pace with 1,200 properties now able to access faster fibre broadband.

By the end of 2017, this figure will rise to around 9,300 households and businesses, with 8,800 of them able to access ‘superfast’ download speeds of 24 megabits (Mbps) and above.

When combined with the private sector’s commercial investment, it means 98 per cent of homes and businesses in the borough will be able to access high-speed fibre broadband by the end of next year.

Local households opting for an upgrade will be able to order fibre broadband with download speeds of up to 80Mbps and uploads of up to 20Mbps*.

The network being installed by Openreach – BT’s local network business – will enable people to choose from a wide range of broadband service providers.

All the latest information on the programme can be found on the partnership’s website – www.superfast-telford.co.uk – including a map searchable by postcode.

Note to news editors:

* These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

Ends

Further information for the media is available from:

Russell Griffin, Public Relations Team Leader, Telford & Wrekin Council on 01952 382407, or email russell.griffin@telford.gov.ukpr9170

Or

Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.comTwitter:@EmmaTennantBT

All BT news releases can be accessed at our web site: www.btplc.com

About Telford & Wrekin

Telford & Wrekin Council is a unitary authority with 170,300 residents. It is a mix of historic market towns, New Town Estates and rural villages. It has a purpose built town centre that is currently undergoing a £250m regeneration.

It is also the birthplace of the industrial revolution and home to the world’s first Iron Bridge in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site.

We are a business winning and business supporting local authority and are proud that we represent the fastest growing town in the Midlands. Telford has excellent transport links, congestion-free roads and plenty of available land and office space. Talk to us on Twitter @TelfordWrekin and Facebook.

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 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.With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, 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