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Superfast Worcestershire programme celebrates success

Press Release   •   Aug 14, 2015 11:08 BST

The Superfast Worcestershire programme is celebrating after reaching the milestone of making high speed fibre broadband available to over 35,000 homes and businesses in the county.

This significant achievement means the programme is ahead of schedule and more than 17 per cent of households and businesses have already taken up the high-speed technology, which is also ahead of expectations.

Due to the excellent performance of the programme, BT is now giving Worcestershire County Council an early opportunity to use up to £3 million worth of contract benefits.

This additional £3 million comprises up to £2.1m which BT is making available to Worcestershire County Council as a result of gain share*, and a further £0.9 million from savings made during the deployment.

The announcement comes the day after Government announced the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than three million UK homes and businesses. The 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.

Cllr Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills & Infrastructure, said: “It is very pleasing to see that the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme and BT have recognised the success of the programme in Worcestershire. It is important that we continue to focus on stimulating demand for the service and ensuring residents and businesses are aware they need to 'sign-up' when fibre reaches their area in order to benefit from improved speeds. The investment of a further £3 million could mean that we can now look to reach even more premises and roll-out faster broadband more quickly.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director, added: “The fibre broadband roll-out is a real success story, and we’re delighted to be able to share that success with Worcestershire County Council by making funding available to help connect some of the hardest to reach homes and businesses. The open network which is being rolled out by BT’s local network business, Openreach, offers real choice to communities and this is helping to drive take-up which is key to the programme’s future.”

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 Superfast Worcestershire on having reached more than 35,000 premises so far – they’re making incredible progress.”

To find out when faster broadband is coming to your area and how to sign up, go to www.superfastworcestershire.com

ENDS

Notes to editors

Superfast Worcestershire builds on BT’s commercial fibre roll-out, which has already made the technology available to nearly 190,000 premises across the county.

*£2.1 million is being made available as a result of a “gain share” clause in the phase 1 BDUK contract BT agreed with Worcestershire 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 announcement is bringing forward that investment and making it available much earlier than planned.

It means that with other accelerated benefits in the contract a total of £3m could be available for reinvestment subject to agreement by the Council's cabinet.

For DCMS’s response to the news see https://www.gov.uk/government/news/additional-129-million-boost-for-nationwide-broadband-rollout

* This 20 percent take-up rate was based on international comparisons and BT’s experience in its own commercial roll-out.

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