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Rutland best in the country for fibre broadband take up

Press Release   •   Aug 12, 2015 15:30 BST

Second phase of Digital Rutland to bring fibre broadband coverage to 94.6% of homes and businesses

Rutland is leading the way in the UK for take-up of fibre broadband, it was announced today. Latest figures from the Digital Rutland partnership reveal fibre broadband is already being used by more than four out of ten households and businesses across the county.

The 43% Rutland take-up figure is higher than any other county in the country and the number is continuing to grow.

The news comes as the Government celebrates more than three million UK homes and businesses having access to superfast broadband. The national rollout is on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 and is now reaching around 5,000 additional premises every day.

Bill Murphy, BT managing director of next generation access, said: “Digital Rutland is a major success story and a shining example of how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve just about anything. The council was one of the very first to recognise the opportunity that fibre broadband provides and has been an enthusiastic, determined, and committed partner. The end result of this hard work is the best take-up rates for fibre broadband anywhere in the country. For that, Rutland should be very proud.”

Terry King, deputy leader of Rutland County Council, said: “We’re delighted the local community has backed our broadband project with such passion and enthusiasm. Faster broadband was something we knew was important for Rutland. Thousands of homes and businesses have seen their online fortunes transformed and the good news is there’s more to come.”

A second phase of work between Rutland County Council and BT, worth £1.1 million and extending coverage to a further 900 homes and businesses, has also been announced today.

The new agreement builds on the initial Digital Rutland contract signed in 2012, which was completed earlier this year. Included in phase two are some of the more hard-to-reach areas in the county such as Barleythorpe, Bisbrooke, Braunston and Pickworth. Further details of coverage and speeds for individual properties and postcodes will be available following survey work.

Implementation is expected to get underway in April 2016 and when completed, more than 94.6% of properties in Rutland will have access to fibre broadband. Rutland County Council and BT are also exploring solutions for the remaining properties with the aim of ensuring that all Rutland homes and businesses can access speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Since the Digital Rutland project was launched three years ago, all ten telephone exchanges in the county have been upgraded to fibre and 47 new green roadside fibre cabinets installed.

In four Rutland telephone exchanges, more than half of all households and businesses served have upgraded to fibre. Across the East Midlands, six Rutland exchanges are amongst the top ten for fibre broadband take-up.

The end result is that more than 5,000 homes and businesses across the county are now using fibre broadband.

Eric Thompson is managing director of Crisis Guardian. His company is based in Rutland and the United States and is benefitting greatly from the new technology.

He said: “Working between offices in Rutland and Chicago, we produce ‘rich media’ – films, audio programmes and e-learning training packages for national and international clients, such as Barclays, Rolls-Royce and eBay. We rely on superfast broadband to transfer our work quickly and safely.

“Before Digital Rutland, we were ‘burning’ media files to CDs and DVDs and relying on couriers so superfast broadband has dramatically reduced the time and cost required to produce and transport our work. It’s also allowed us to stay in Rutland and commit ourselves to working in the county – prior to the Digital Rutland rollout we were considering relocating our business to make sure we could keep up with our customers and competitors.

“Speeds with our old internet connection were so slow that we could only achieve very basic tasks online, such as simple emails and basic web browsing. Now our upload and download speeds are phenomenal, allowing us to achieve everything we need to do in our business day. We can upload huge media files in a matter of minutes, which has cut days and sometimes weeks from our production schedules. This has saved our business time and money and we have been able to pass on these savings to our clients – making us even more competitive.”

High speed fibre broadband boosts the competitiveness of local firms and offers new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.

At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a typical feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded in seconds.

Digital Rutland is a multi-million pound partnership between Rutland County Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached an additional three million UK homes and businesses and is transforming lives up and down the country. I'm delighted that the people and businesses of Rutland are now able to enjoy all the benefits that superfast speeds have to offer."

Engineering work for the Digital Rutland project is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business, and builds on the private sector’s roll-out of fibre broadband. BT’s commercial rollout in Rutland has already made high-speed fibre broadband available to more than 5,000 homes and businesses, and many millions of properties across the UK.

For more information about Digital Rutland please visit www.rutland.gov.uk/digitalrutland

For more information about BT please visit www.btplc.com

ENDS