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Faster fibre broadband roll-out set to reach even more rural Warwickshire villages as part of major expansion

Press Release   •   Oct 03, 2016 11:59 BST

Colin Bannon, BT's regional director for the West Midlands

FASTER FIBRE BROADBAND FIBRE ROLL-OUT SET TO REACH EVEN MORE RURAL WARWICKSHIRE VILLAGES AS PART OF MAJOR EXPANSION


Hundreds of households and businesses in some of the most rural villages in Warwickshire will be able to get faster fibre broadband for the first time in the coming months thanks to the £10 million expansion of the CSW Broadband roll-out.

Areas set to benefit include parts of Alcester, Arrow, Edge Hill, Farnborough, Fenny Compton, Great Alne, Henley-in-Arden, Kineton, Moreton Morell, Moreton Paddox, Sambourne, Studley and Tysoe with more areas to follow, lead CSW Broadband partners Warwickshire County Council and BT announced today.

Rolling out fibre broadband to smaller, more remote communities can be more challenging for a variety of reasons. For example, some properties are connected direct to the local exchange on ‘exchange only’ lines, rather than via a roadside cabinet. In order to upgrade these premises to faster fibre broadband, engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, need to lay hundreds of metres of new fibre optic cable and often install a new cabinet in each village.

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

The CSW Broadband partnership started connecting the first county premises to faster fibre broadband two and half years ago as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. Since then, engineers from Openreach have installed more than 300 new roadside cabinets, making fibre available to more than 54,000 homes and businesses.

Councillor Alan Cockburn, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance & Property at Warwickshire County Council, said: "We always said that this project was about bringing superfast broadband to the hardest to reach areas, and that is very evident in this latest Wave. Out of 49 structures that are due for upgrade, only eight are straightforward cabinet upgrades. The remaining 41 structures are lines connected directly back to the exchange and where there is no cabinet. This means that additional work is necessary to re-arrange the copper connections as well as bringing a fibre connection, and this will take time.

“Because of the different ways communities and individual properties are connected to the main communications network – especially those on ‘exchange only’ lines – often the CSW Broadband project team is not able to let people know when they are able to access fibre broadband until after the upgrade work has been completed, and they are able to order an upgrade. One thing is for sure though, a lot of people who would never have got faster broadband will see a real uplift through this work.”

Colin Bannon, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “We’ve already started work on this phase of the project and if everything goes to plan we aim to finish this part of the roll-out in the next six months. Rolling out fibre broadband to some parts of rural Warwickshire can be more complex because of the additional infrastructure and equipment needed. Once an area has gone ‘live’, local households and businesses who opt for an upgrade will notice a much more reliable, faster connection.

“Whether it’s people working from home or running a business, sharing large files over email is much faster and easier with fibre broadband. Families who use the internet for shopping, research, streaming videos, catch-up TV or uploading photos, can do all those things more quickly over fibre without buffering.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Philip Johnson, Chair of Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “In order to reach the more challenging areas different technologies are being used. It really is important that people register their interest in fibre broadband with CSW Broadband so that they can be updated on the progress of the rollout in their area. It’s easy to register for updates at www.cswbroadband.org.uk/register.”

Upgrading to fibre broadband does not happen automatically. It’s an ‘opt in’ service. Because the network is being installed by Openreach, it is ‘open’ so residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a wide choice of fibre broadband service providers.

ENDS

Note to Editors

This part of the CSW Broadband roll-out is using a mixture of technologies. These include Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), which provides speeds up to 330Mbps and upload speeds of up to 30Mbps; and Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), which provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and download speeds of up to 20Mbps. In addition there are some premises that are currently connected directly to the telephone exchange rather than via a green roadside cabinet, sometimes known as Exchange Only (EO) lines. In order to connect EO lines, further roadside cabinets have to be installed.

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

About CSW Broadband

The expansion of the CSW Broadband roll-out is known as Contract 2, Part 1, and 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 and the private sector investments of companies like BT.

The first part of the CSW Broadband roll-out is known as Contract 1.

As the property-level mapping is still in development, the CSW Broadband team is asking people to check the map at www.cswbroadband.org.uk and to report any discrepancies by using the simple online form.

*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.com Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

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.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