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'Community champions' wanted by CSW Broadband partnership as take-up of technology continues to rise

Press Release   •   Feb 22, 2016 14:33 GMT

CSW Broadband – the partnership rolling out faster fibre broadband across Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry – is on the hunt for local broadband community ‘Champions’ to help spread the word about the benefits of the new technology.

Warwickshire County Council and BT, which are spearheading the programme, today revealed that CSW Broadband has some of the best rates of take-up of fibre broadband in the country.

CSW Broadband began connecting the first homes and premises in April 2014. Since then, the percentage of local households and businesses opting for an upgrade has increased to nearly 30 per cent.

Councillor Alan Cockburn, deputy leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “The CSW Broadband roll-out is progressing well but we’re keen for even more people to benefit from this new technology.

“There’s no doubt the success of the project to date has been largely down to the support of broadband enthusiasts spreading the word in their communities. So now we’re on the look-out for more volunteers to become local broadband champions, especially in some of the new areas where fibre is going live, including Alne End, Butlers Marston, Lea Marston, Little Kineton, Radway, Upton and Warmington.”

Anyone interested in becoming a broadband community champion should contact the CSW Broadband programme office by emailing: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk or completing the form on the website at www.cswbroadband.org.uk

Dan Essex, who has been a broadband community champion in Shilton and Barnacle for more than three years, said: “You don’t have to be a technical expert to be a broadband community champion – you just need to have a passion for sharing the good news about when the technology is going to become available and the ways in which people can benefit. This might involve putting up posters on local notice boards, delivering flyers or posting on local websites. How much you get involved is up to you.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said: “The roll-out of CSW Broadband is continuing at a pace and our project teams are working hard to enable more communities to have access to this technology as quickly as possible.

“Whether it’s people working from home, businesses boosting their competitiveness and attracting new customers or families using the internet for research, studies, gaming, shopping or streaming music – everything is better, faster and easier with fibre broadband.”

Warwickshire County Councilllor Philip Johnson, Chair of Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “The Champions played a major part in the success of the first phase of the superfast broadband rollout and we would like to see more people coming forward to carry out this important role”.

Local people can get more information and updates from the CSW Broadband website – www.cswbroadband.org.uk – and via Twitter and Facebook.

Superfast broadband is an ‘opt in’ service, but because the network is being installed by Openreach it is ‘open’, so residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a choice of fibre broadband service providers, with more than 140 now operating in the UK. Local people choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*.

Note to Editors

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

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Issued by Warwickshire County Council and BT on behalf of the CSW Broadband partnership.

For more information please contact Leigh Hunt at the CSW Broadband project office on 01926 738339 or email: broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

Or

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

About CSW Broadband - http://www.cswbroadband.org.uk

CSW Broadband is a partnership of eight Local Authorities (Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire and the Boroughs and Districts of North Warwickshire, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby, Warwick and Stratford on Avon) with BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

In the first phase, which began connecting homes and businesses in April 2014, the CSW Broadband partnership is contributing £4.5 million, with £6.57m from BT and £4.5m from BDUK.

That phase of the CSW Broadband partnership will ensure around 40,000 premises in the project area have access to superfast broadband. When combined with private sector investments, 91 cent of the area’s homes and businesses will have access to superfast broadband by Spring 2016.

Contract 2, Part 1, was announced in February 2015. The deal was spearheaded by Warwickshire County Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which are contributing an initial £3.68 million and £0.38 million respectively, with an additional £2.61m from BT and a further £4.06m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP).

When complete, it will increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access high-speed fibre broadband in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire to nearly 94 per cent when combined with the first phase of the CSW Broadband roll-out already underway – known as Contract 1 - and the private sector investments of companies like BT.

The project office is hosted by Warwickshire County Council and is based in Warwick. The project team can be contacted on 01926 738339 or broadband@cswbroadband.org.uk

The CSW Superfast Broadband Programme is in addition to, and separate from, Coventry City Council’s ‘Super Connected Cities’ Programme.

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: 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 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. Following the acquisition of EE on 29 January 2016, BT consists principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

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.