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Engineers go the distance to bring benefits of superfast fibre broadband to Bromyard

Press Release   •   Aug 12, 2015 11:24 BST

Fastershire plus BT’s commercial roll-out brings fibre broadband to more than 50 percent of Herefordshire homes and businesses

Bill Wiggin MP welcomes the news

Engineers working to deliver faster fibre broadband across Herefordshire have overcome technical challenges to enable around 1,850 homes and businesses in Bromyard to benefit from the ambitious Fastershire programme, partners Herefordshire Council and BT announced today.

A new connection to the main telephone network running from Hereford to Bromyard - a total distance of 15 miles - had to be installed to make fibre available to homes and businesses in Bromyard. Work to bring fibre broadband to this area was very complex because engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business - had to lay the fibre cable across areas where national carriers of gas and electricity have their main networks, with high pressure gas mains and high voltage power cables buried deep underground.

The news comes on the day the Government announced its nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than three million UK homes and businesses not covered by existing commercial networks, and is on track to take superfast access to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.

When added to BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband in Herefordshire, the Fastershire programme takes coverage to more than 50 percent of the county and is on track to make fibre broadband available to around 90 per cent of Herefordshire homes and businesses by the end of 2016.

Bill Wiggin MP said: “I am delighted that residents and business in Bromyard will now be able to access superfast fibre broadband.

“Tackling and improving broadband speeds was a key priority for me during the election campaign and is vitally important to our local economy in Herefordshire.

“The arrival of fibre broadband in Bromyard coincides with the Government’s national Broadband Delivery UK programme passing three million premises with the new fibre network. This underlines the Government's commitment to ensuring that UK businesses can compete in an increasingly global economy.

“I am looking forward to seeing more communities in North Herefordshire connected to superfast fibre broadband over the coming months.”

Councillor Graham Powell, Cabinet Member at Herefordshire Council responsible for broadband, said “Though we have reached the 50 per cent marker we obviously still have a way to go. Some people and areas will be disappointed that fibre has not got to them yet, but we are looking to the long term where faster broadband meets the needs of residents and enables companies to grow in a world so dependent of on-line interaction.”

Penny Gilbert, owner of Gilberts Equestrian and Country in Bromyard, welcomed the news. She said: “We’ve recently launched our online shop and new website so we’re looking forward to having fibre broadband installed as it will make updates to the website so much quicker. Having an online shop will really help us to grow the business. My daughter also runs her own business training and selling events ponies. She’s often at the shop and will be loading up videos and pictures to her facebook page whilst she’s here. Soon we’ll be able to all be online at the same time without slowing up anyone else wanting to access the internet too!”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for next generation access, said: “BT’s multi billion pound investment in superfast broadband through partnerships and its own commercial programme has already made fibre broadband available to more than 50,000 households and businesses in Herefordshire – and the number continues to grow.

“Our Openreach engineers are bringing superfast broadband to some of the most rural areas of England. Bromyard was a real challenge to reach as we had to navigate an area peppered with multiple national utility networks in order to lay 15 miles of new fibre cabling. We are working hard to roll-out superfast broadband to homes and businesses across the rest of the county as quickly as possible.”

When an area has gone live, Herefordshire homes and businesses are able to access download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.* In some areas, where fibre is connected direct to a home or business, download speeds can be as high as 330Mbps.* The upgrades do not happen automatically – local people have to choose to upgrade. Because the Openreach network is ‘open’, residents and businesses have a wide choice of companies offering fibre broadband, with more than 140 providers currently operating across the UK, ensuring competitive prices.

Residents and businesses can follow the progress of the roll-out via the Fastershire website: www.fastershire.com, Fastershire’s Facebook page: facebook.com/Fastershire or on twitter: @Fastershire.

The £56.6 million Fastershire project is a partnership between Herefordshire Council, Gloucestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. The project is well on track to reach 20,000 premises in Herefordshire with fibre broadband by the end of the summer.

ENDS

Note to Editors

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

Issued by Herefordshire Council and BT. For more information please contact Michelle Morgan email: michelle.morgan2@herefordshire.gov.uk 01432 383404

Or

Paul Hayward at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: paul.hayward@bt.com

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