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Fibre broadband boost for more than 10,000 Black Country homes and businesses

Press Release   •   Feb 10, 2016 19:36 GMT

More than 10,000 businesses and households are now able to access high-speed fibre broadband thanks to the ambitious Black Country Broadband Project, lead partners Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and BT announced today.

Parts of Dudley, Walsall, Wednesbury, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton are among the latest areas to benefit.

They include: Bentley, Blackheath, Brierley Hill, Castle, Darlaston, Ettingshall, Netherton, Priory, Rowley, St Andrews, St James’, St Paul’s, St Thomas’s, the centre of West Bromwich and Woodside.

As part of the roll-out, engineers have so far installed more than 80 fibre broadband road-side cabinets, which are needed to enable local premises to connect to the new network.

Because the project is being rolled out by engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – residents and businesses opting for an upgrade can choose from a wide range of broadband service providers, with more than 140 providers currently operating in the UK.

Work has now also started on the second phase of the roll-out, which is extending the reach of the technology to additional parts of Brierley Hill, Dudley, James Bridge, Streetly, Tipton and Willenhall.

Ninder Johal, Chair of the Black Country Broadband Group and a Board Member of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “A superfast internet connection can make the world of difference to businesses and homes so reaching the 10,000 milestone is a huge step in delivering our ambition of a minimum 98 per cent high-speed fibre broadband availability across the Black Country by the end of June 2017.

“For businesses superfast broadband can help organisations to become more efficient, cheaper to run and easier to develop improving competitiveness both in the UK and overseas, bringing a real boost to the local economy. At home benefits include faster downloads of music and movies and simultaneous online browsing improving the quality of the online experience for all the family.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director of next generation access, said: “The roll-out of fibre broadband is progressing well and our project teams are working hard to make it available to more parts of the Black Country as quickly as possible. Every day we’re hearing how fibre broadband is touching people’s lives in new and exciting ways. Whether it’s someone working from home or running a small business, or students doing their homework or downloading films or streaming music - everything is easier, better and faster with fibre broadband.”

The Black Country Broadband Project was launched to bring fibre broadband to areas of the region that are not already able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of any commercial roll-outs.

For more information on the Black Country Broadband Project visit www.blackcountrylep.co.uk/place/broadband-plan

ENDS

Note to Editors

The £12.2 million Black Country Broadband Project is a partnership between Black Country LEP, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, supported by the four local authorities in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Combined investments by BT and other communications providers means high-speed fibre broadband is already available to around 92 per cent of the area – more than 468,000 homes and businesses.

The Black Country Broadband Project will extend the availability of high-speed fibre broadband to 98 per cent of homes and businesses across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton by the end of 2017.

Funding for the programme is made up of £2.9 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery (BDUK) programme, £6.4 million from BT and £2.9 million from the Black Country LEP’s Growing Places Fund.

The Growing Places Fund enables organisations to apply for funding to invest in Capital projects, including land, property and infrastructure, which unlock economic growth and create jobs.

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Issued by Black Country LEP and the BT regional press office.

For more information please contact Helen Annetts, PR on behalf of the Black Country LEP on 07779026720 or email HelenLAnnetts@hotmail.co.uk

Or

Emma Tennant at BT on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT All BT news releases are available at http://www.btplc.com/News

About the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

  1. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) aligns activity across private and public sectors to create the right environment for businesses with a remit to tackle barriers to business growth and create a globally competitive local economy.
  2. Programmes to deliver our vision are structured around three areas of activity:
  • Business: supporting skills and competitiveness
  • People: raising skills and employability, for example through our City Deal and Skills Factory;
  • Place: including the provision of more high quality employment land through our Enterprise Zone and City Deal.
  1. The LEP Board has identified seven priority areas where action will have the most impact on the Black Country and its contribution to the national economy:
  • Exploiting the potential of the Black Country as a place to live, do business and invest; focusing on our housing offer, the quality of employment land, and the distinctive role of our four strategic centres.
  • Using supply chains to build business commitment to skills and growth
  • Supporting innovation at our major science and business parks

About the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

  1. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) aligns activity across private and public sectors to create the right environment for businesses with a remit to tackle barriers to business growth and create a globally competitive local economy.
  2. Programmes to deliver our vision are structured around three areas of activity:
  • Business: supporting skills and competitiveness
  • People: raising skills and employability, for example through our City Deal and Skills Factory;
  • Place: including the provision of more high quality employment land through our Enterprise Zone and City Deal.
  1. The LEP Board has identified seven priority areas where action will have the most impact on the Black Country and its contribution to the national economy:
  • Exploiting the potential of the Black Country as a place to live, do business and invest; focusing on our housing offer, the quality of employment land, and the distinctive role of our four strategic centres.
  • Using supply chains to build business commitment to skills and growth
  • Supporting innovation at our major science and business parks
  • Building a close relationship with our top 600 companies
  • Raising our skills levels
  • Securing inward investment
  • Developing a more entrepreneurial culture

  1. The Black Country located at the heart of the national transport network, comprises the metropolitan boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton. It covers 356 sq kilometres, is home to 1.14 million people, with 23 per cent ethnic minority residents and approximately half a million jobs in 31,000 companies.

    For more information on the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership visit www.blackcountrylep.co.uk or follow on Twitter: @blackcountrylep

    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.