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Superfast broadband rollout surges ahead in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Press Release   •   Aug 12, 2015 13:05 BST

Cambridgeshire’s superfast broadband rollout is surging ahead to meet the high demand for faster fibre connections for homes and businesses across the county.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has now reached more than 83,000 premises in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that would not otherwise be able to get better broadband and is on track to exceed its original targets, bringing wider coverage for hard to reach areas.

Adoption of fibre broadband around the county by local households and businesses is well above average at 24 per cent and rising rapidly as the rollout progresses - showing the growing need for faster Internet access so that people can work from home, shop, socialise and find services online. The higher than expected take-up of the high speed technology has delivered a financial boost with around another £5.3million being made available by BT via Broadband Delivery UK for Connecting Cambridgeshire to reinvest in extending high speed broadband to even more premises.

Over 480 high speed fibre cabinets have already gone live in towns and villages across the county with many more to come by the end of 2015 completing the first phase of the roll-out. Catworth, Chatteris, Croydon, Newborough and Waresley are among the latest areas to benefit from faster connections.

Planning is now underway to extend the rollout further using additional funding from the Government’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) to improve broadband coverage for harder to reach areas and new developments during a second phase in 2016-2017.

The rapid progress of the project, led by Cambridgeshire County Council working with BT, has contributed to today’s Government announcement that the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has passed more than three million UK homes and businesses. 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.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey, said: "We are transforming the digital landscape of the UK and our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached an additional three million UK homes and businesses. I congratulate Connecting Cambridgeshire on having reached more than 83,000 properties in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough so far – they’re making incredible progress."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Chairman of the Economy and Environment Committee, which oversees the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, said: “The importance of Connecting Cambridgeshire bringing high speed broadband to our communities and the value to the local economy is clear as the roll-out progresses.

“We are committed to connecting as many places as possible and there is still more to do to find the best solutions for more challenging areas. We welcome the opportunity to reinvest over £5million in the project and will be working with BT to plan how it can be used to extend coverage, targeting many of those properties in hard to reach places.”

Dave Hughes, BT’s regional director for the East of England, said: “Today marks important milestones, both locally and nationally, for the superfast broadband revolution. This exciting technology is transforming the opportunities for communities across Cambridgeshire and the UK as a whole.

“BT’s multi billion pound investment in superfast broadband through its involvement in partnerships, such as Connecting Cambridgeshireand its own commercial programme has already made fibre broadband available to more than 273,000 households and businesses in Cambridgeshire – and the number is continuing to grow rapidly. Our Openreach engineers are rolling out the technology at a world class pace, reaching thousands more premises every week.

“Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come.”

Visit www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk for the latest updates and advice on getting superfast broadband.

Ends

Contacts

Jane Sneesby, Connecting Cambridgeshire Communications

01223 699969 Mob: 07710 432428

Jane.sneesby@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Or:

Paul Hayward, BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660.

Notes for Editors

Connecting Cambridgeshire www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk

The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme is led by Cambridgeshire County Council in partnership with Peterborough City Council, and the Government body BDUK, with the support of District Councils and partners in business, health and education.

Connecting Cambridgeshire is on track to exceed its original targets by bringing high speed fibre broadband to well over 90,000 premises that would not be able to get it otherwise by the end of 2015.Combined with commercial plans by the private sector, the completed roll-out will give 98 per cent of homes and businesses access to fibre-based broadband - making Cambridgeshire one of the best connected counties in the country.

BT has already made high-speed fibre broadband available to more than 190,000 Cambridgeshire homes and businesses as part of its commercial deployment. The network is open to all broadband service providers on an equivalent basis which means households and businesses can upgrade to fibre broadband package of their choice.

The £5.3 million is being made available as a result of a “gain share” clause in the phase 1 BDUK contract BT agreed with Cambridgeshire County Council that allows the funding BT has received to be reinvested over a number of years into further coverage if take-up is better than the 20 per cent* expected in BT’s original business case. This investment is being made available much earlier than planned. The higher take-up rate to date has resulted in BT making a new business case assumption of reaching 30 per cent take-up in these areas..

About BTwww.btplc.com.

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. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, 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.

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 – and provides communications providers with services and products associated with that network.

About BDUK www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of 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:

£780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017

£150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities

£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.