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Internet fast lane for Hampshire village and school

Press Release   •   Oct 17, 2016 11:12 BST

Ditcham Park School has new superfast broadband connection capable

of speeds more than 50 times faster than previous service

Thanks to Openreach, BT’s local network business, a Hampshire village and its local school have joined the superfast broadband revolution through a pioneering scheme to roll-out the high-speed technology to more communities.

Ditcham was the first UK community to benefit from a BT grant scheme aimed at bringing superfast fibre broadband to parts of the country, which are hard-to-reach.

More than £17,500 was awarded to help bring fibre broadband to Ditcham Park Schooland the village. Openreach were quick to install a superfast broadband fibre line capable of delivering broadband speeds up to 330mbps – more than 50 times faster than their previous broadband service.

Teachers are excited about the new opportunities the superfast connection will bring as Ditcham looks forward to developing its online technologies and moving towards a very exciting IT phase for the school.

Rob Connolly, head teacher at Ditcham Park School, said: “This new technology will provide a leap in digital services that will benefit every single member of the school community, pupils, parents, staff and visitors. We are all hugely grateful to Chis Taee, one of our fantastic parents who has made this possible. The future is incredibly bright!”

Mat Mitas, the school’s network manager, said: "This is really going to develop teaching and learning at Ditcham, which is going to be of great benefit for all of our pupils.”

Local Ditcham resident Chris Taee worked with Openreach, local families and land owners within the community, who allowed trenching and cable laying across their property to make this high-speed broadband dream become a reality.

Chris Taee, said: “We’re delighted with the grant that BT and Openreach has awarded our community – it will be revolutionary for us all.”

Kim Mears, managing director of infrastructure at Openreach, said: “We’re working on getting superfast fibre speeds to more communities across the UK. One of our top priorities in Openreach is to work with local communities to find a co funded solution to get the final few percent of the UK faster speeds and the people of Ditcham are pioneering a new way to achieve this.”

The new scheme is available to those communities not covered by any private or publicly funded fibre broadband rollout plans. Eligible communities can apply for match funding of up to £20,000 towards the cost of a new local superfast fibre network as long as the technology is capable of serving the local school.

The grant scheme is part of BT’s Community Fibre Partnerships programme, which gives communities the opportunity to jointly fund an upgrade to fibre broadband alongside Openreach if they are not included in any current private or public sector plans.

The new scheme greatly reduces the contribution needed from local residents and encourages people of all ages to equip themselves with the essential digital skills needed to access online services.

More than a hundred communities across the country have so far signed up to Openreach’s co-funded Community Fibre Partnerships scheme, with many already enjoying the benefits of superfast broadband. The availability of these new grants will encourage even more communities to work with Openreach on bringing high-speed connectivity to their town or village.

BT’s long term ambition is to help and inspire young people in the UK to make the most of technology through initiatives such as the BT Tech Literacy Programme.

Communities interested in making an application for a grant should register their interest online at http://www.communityfibre.bt.com/.

About Openreach

Openreach is responsible for the last mile of the UK access network – the copper wires and fibre connecting homes and businesses to their local telephone exchanges. Openreach provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.

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