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Fibre broadband community 'champions' wanted by Superfast Worcestershire partnership as roll-out of new technology gathers pace

Press Release   •   May 26, 2016 12:59 BST

Superfast Worcestershire – the partnership rolling out faster fibre broadband across Worcestershire – is on the hunt for local broadband community ‘Champions’ to help spread the word about the benefits of the new technology.

The roll-out is being spearheaded by Worcestershire County Council and BT, as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The latest areas to benefit from Superfast Worcestershire include parts of areas served by the following telephone exchanges: Ashton-Under-Hill, Bredon, Droitwich, Fernhill Heath, Kempsey, Upton-Upon-Severn, Wythall, as well as Romsley, where households and businesses are now able to access the technology for the first time.

Superfast Worcestershire began connecting the first premises to fibre broadbandaround two years ago enabling more than 54,000 homes and businesses to access the new technology as a result of the partnership - already one in three households and businesses have signed up for the faster services.

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: “The Superfast Worcestershire roll-out is progressing well and we’re keen for even more people to benefit from this new technology. We’re now on the look-out for volunteers to become local broadband community champions across the county and especially in some of the new areas where fibre broadband is, or soon will be, available for the first time.

"With the support of broadband enthusiasts spreading the word in their communities there's no doubt that the programme will be even more of a success. Anyone interested in becoming a broadband community champion should email superfast@worcestershire.gov.uk or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter."

John Yeo, who has been a broadband community champion in Wadborough for six months, 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.”

Colin Bannon, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “Our project teams are working hard to make fibre broadband available to as many communities as soon as possible. Superfast Worcestershire is a major engineering programme, with around 325 new road-side fibre broadband cabinets now ‘live’.

“When combined with BT’s commercial roll-out of the technology, more than 238,000 households and businesses across Worcestershire are now able to connect to fibre broadband.”

People can follow the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out via: www.superfastworcestershire.com.

It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the network is being installed by BT’s local network business, Openreach, it is ‘open’, so residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a wide 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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Press contacts:

Issued on behalf of Superfast Worcestershire by Worcestershire County Council and BT.

For more information please call Worcestershire County Council on 01905 766642 or 01905 766646 or email commsunit@worcestershire.gov.uk.

Alternatively you can contact Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email emma.tennant@bt.comAll BT news releases are available at http://www.btplc.com/News

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

About Superfast Worcestershire:

Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. In the phase scheduled to end in June 2016, which is due to reach 57,000 premises, Worcestershire County Council is contributing up to £8.5 million, with an additional £8.9 million from BT, and a further £4.45 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds through the Superfast Britain initiative (please see below) to make a total of £21.85 million.

A further contract to extend the programme was signed in March 2015 to increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access fibre-based broadband in Worcestershire to more than 95 per cent when the private sector’s commercial roll-out of the technology is included. The total amount of funding available for the extension to the programme is £6.2 million, comprising £2.39 million grant funding each from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal, and £1.42 million from BT to make a total of £6.2 million.

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.With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, 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