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Take up of high-speed fibre broadband soars in Greater Manchester thanks to Get Digital Faster

Press Release   •   Oct 19, 2016 15:38 BST

The number of people signing up for faster broadband has more than doubled in the last year across the Get Digital Faster programme area.Latest figures show that more than 23 per cent of households and businesses in the Get Digital Faster programme area have already signed up to a fibre broadband package. This compares with around 10 per cent just 12 months ago.

Get Digital Faster – a multi-million pound partnership between eight local authorities and BT to add superfast coverage in areas not covered by commercial operators - has so far made the technology available to an additional 46,000 properties in the area. The fibre broadband roll-out covers the local authority areas of Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.

The partnership is on course to make high-speed fibre broadband available to a further 2,000 households and businesses by spring 2017, meaning 99 per cent of the area will have access to fibre broadband either through this work or from other suppliers.

Councillor Alex Ganotis, Leader of Stockport Council, the lead local authority on Get Digital Faster programme said: “It is great to hear that take up rates have increased so much over the past 12 months. The way we communicate and do business has changed significantly and we now rely on the internet more than ever in our day-to-day lives. We want to ensure everyone has access to fast, reliable broadband and the work of Get Digital Faster is making this a reality. I’d encourage everyone to go online and find out how they can benefit from this.”

Tony Morgan, BT’s programme director, said:“We’re delighted that take-up of the service is going well, but this doesn’t happen automatically and people need to contact a broadband service provider to arrange an upgrade to fibre. This is an exciting technology, which is transforming the way we live and work because whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband. I’d urge everyone to check availability, work out what package they need and shop around for good deals as a wide range of internet companies can provide the service.”

The £15 million partnership features Stockport as the lead local authority, with Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. It is managed by Transport for Greater Manchester and also has funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, are laying around 400 kilometres of fibre cable – the equivalent of twice around the Greater Manchester boundary - and installing around 590 fibre broadband roadside cabinets. It is estimated that 150 people involved in delivery will complete 500,000 hours of work planning and building the network during the lifetime of the project.

The Openreach network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis.When an area has gone ‘live’ for fibre, people need to opt for an upgrade from a wide range of fibre broadband providers.

Residents or businesses who want to find out more about Get Digital Faster can visit www.get-digital-faster.info.

For press/media inquiries please contact:

Janet Hare, BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660 or Kate Ruddick, Stockport Council Communications on 0161 474 3071.

Notes to Editors

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

About BDUK

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.

    For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

    About ERDF

    The Get Digital Faster project is part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013.

    The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

    https://www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-and-resources#north-west