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Major boost for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent as 90 per cent of homes and businesses now able to access superfast broadband

Press Release   •   Feb 11, 2016 09:43 GMT

MAJOR BOOST FOR STAFFORDSHIRE AND STOKE-ON-TRENT AS 90 PER CENT OF HOMES AND BUSINESSES NOW ABLE TO GET SUPERFAST BROADBAND

Superfast Staffordshire celebrates rolling out fibre broadband to 80,000 premises;

Digital Economy Minister hails double milestone;

Bonehill, Burslem, Crackley, Eccleshall, Fradley, Great Chatwell, Longnor, Norton Canes, Stanton and Wombourne are among latest communities to go ‘live’;

Moreton businessman welcomes superfast broadband speeds

More than 80,000 households and businesses are now able to get faster fibre broadband thanks to Superfast Staffordshire, lead partners Staffordshire County Council and BT announced today.

This takes the percentage of premises across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent able to connect to superfast fibre broadband to 90 per cent as a result of the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out and private sector investments.

Bonehill, Burslem, Crackley, Eccleshall, Fradley, Great Chatwell, Longnor, Norton Canes, Stanton and Wombourne are among the latest communities to benefit from the Superfast Staffordshire programme.

Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: "This milestone is fantastic news for the 80,000 additional homes and businesses across Staffordshire who can now enjoy all the benefits superfast broadband has to offer. Nationally, we've reached almost four million extra premises, and we're on track to reach 95 per cent of the country by 2017."

Richard Clarke, who lives in Moreton, one of the villages to benefit recently from Superfast Staffordshire, has seen his broadband download speeds rocket to more than 70 megabits per second – from around 2Mbps – and upload speeds increase to around 19Mbps, since upgrading to fibre.

He said: “From a business perspective we can now host our own email, update our operating systems and programmes in a time frame that does not keep the computers and the internet connection tied up for hours at a time. For example, our payroll update before superfast broadband took more than three hours – now it takes less than 20 minutes. On a personal basis, reading the newspapers and watching related videos is so fast that it means I can do other things in the afternoon. BBCiPlayer and Netflix both stream programmes seamlessly and Skype works well.”

County Councillor Mark Winnington said: “Hitting the 80,000 property mark is a significant milestone for the Superfast Staffordshire project as it means we’re well on the way to our target. When completed, 95 per cent of Staffordshire properties, around 476,000, will be able to connect either through our scheme or commercial roll-out.

“This is making a real difference to people and businesses across the county, boosting opportunities for all. Thousands of people have got themselves connected to superfast fibre broadband and we’d urge everyone to consider doing the same – they just need to ask their internet provider in the first instance.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “Rolling out fibre broadband is a major engineering programme, but our project teams are working extremely hard to ensure as many households and businesses have access to this new technology, as quickly as possible, even in some of the most difficult to reach areas of the county.

“Every day we’re seeing how fibre broadband is opening up new opportunities, for local firms and residents alike, and improving the way people work, communicate, learn and spend their spare time, because everything you do online is easy and faster with fibre broadband.”

People can follow the progress of the roll-out via the Superfast Staffordshire website: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk and via Twitter @superfaststaffs and on Facebook.

Once an area has ‘gone live’, local people will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*. Upgrades do not happen automatically - it’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the Openreach network is ‘open’, residents and businesses have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 companies now operating in the UK.

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 Staffordshire County Council and BT.

For further information about this news release Tom Hobbins at the Staffordshire County Council press office on 01785 276832 or email: tom.hobbins@staffordshire.gov.uk

OrEmma Tennant at the BT Regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

All BT news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre

Photos of the roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire can be downloaded for free from: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1eZqD3

About Superfast Staffordshire

Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BDUK and BT. It builds on the commercial roll-outs in the county.

The first phase of the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out programme represents an investment of more than £27 million (£7.44 million from Staffordshire County Council, £7.44m from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK and £12.47m from BT.)

Staffordshire County Council will receive an extra £2.4m from BT following higher than expected take up of fibre broadband. This will be modelled in due course.

The new deal injects further funding into the County Council’s contract with BT, with a further £1.68m coming from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) and £630,000 from BT.

For those premises not included in the fibre footprint, Superfast Staffordshire is aiming to improve broadband speeds using alternative technologies.

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 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.

    All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News