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Community scheme brings superfast broadband to housing estate in Manchester

Press Release   •   Feb 13, 2017 09:30 GMT

Photo L to R: Kieran Charleson, BT's North West regional director and Gareth Woods, community lead

A partnership between residents and Openreach, BT’s local network business, is to make high-speed fibre broadband available to around 110 homes in Cheetham Hill, Manchester.Openreach will install new fibre optic cabling and a new green road-side cabinet equipped with the latest Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology to deliver speeds of up to 80Mbps. These superfast speeds will be available for the first time to the community on the Byron Bank housing estate from a wide range of broadband service providers. The community partnership is benefitting from funding through the Government’s Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme and will see local residents get the high-speed service by the start of next year.

The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme allows households and businesses with internet speeds of less than 2Mbps, who are not included in any current fibre broadband roll-out plans to apply for funding to upgrade the local broadband network using any technology. The Byron Bank residents were awarded £350 per eligible household towards a new fibre broadband network.

The total cost of bringing fibre broadband technology to residents in the community has been covered by the scheme and Openreach’s investment.

Gareth Woods, who led the local community group to campaign for faster broadband, said: “Broadband is now essential to our daily lives. Being able to go from broadband speeds of less than 2Mbps to having access to superfast fibre broadband will enable myself and our community to get access to everything the internet has to offer.

“For families, enabling children to access education material online and being able to watch catch-up TV;for those working from home, to access all the programmes and documents they need to be productive; for gamers, to compete online with no lag and buffering and to the casual internet user, the best possible browsing experience.”

“It’s a great achievement to act as community lead to help bring fibre broadband to our community, achieved through the Government’s voucher scheme and the partnership with BT.”

Kieran Charleson, BT’s regional director for the North West, said: “Working closely with the residents of the Byron Bank estate we have been able to agree this funding solution and it’s good news that the contract has now been signed. The service will be up and running by the start of next year and will make a big difference to the community’s internet experience. We’re keen to have conversations with other communities who might be able to benefit from this approach.”

Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director for infrastructure delivery, said: “Partnerships like this help us to bring high-speed connections to challenging areas that broadband providers struggle to upgrade 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.

“It’s great to be able to work with communities like Byron Bank in Cheetham Hill to find a broadband solution.”

For more information on community fibre partnerships with BT and the Government’s Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme, visit www.communityfibre.bt.com

Ends

For further information

Enquiries about this news release should be made to the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660 All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

Notes to editors

About Openreach

Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.

Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 560 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.

Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2016, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visit openreach.co.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.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.