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Worcestershire businesses are loving the benefits of fibre broadband as Valentine's Day approaches

Press Release   •   Feb 06, 2017 09:19 GMT

Ellen Halpin-Barnett

Firms across Worcestershire say they are loving the way high-speed fibre broadband is helping them to improve the way they do business in the run-up to that most romantic of dates, Valentine’s Day.

Around 65,000 businesses and homes are now able to access the technology as a result of the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out, led by Worcestershire County Council and BT as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, which builds on private sector investments.

It’s nearly six months since Worcestershire County Council reached its target of making faster fibre broadband available to 90 per cent of county businesses - and the number of firms putting the technology at the heart of their business continues to grow.

More than one in three businesses and households that are able to get fibre as a result of Superfast Worcestershire have chosen to do so.

Among them are firms which will be making particular use of the technology in order to boost Valentine’s Day business. They include Sidbury-based Floral Roundabout, Luxury Hampers and Gifts in Worcester, The Goldsmithy jewellers in Broadway and the Red Lion, in Holt Heath, North Worcestershire.

Lydia McPherson, who took over Floral Roundabout in December, hopes using fibre broadband will help the business to flourish. She created a colourful, eye-catching website where customers can look for ideas before placing their orders.

Lydia said: “My website acts as a second shop window for me. Being able to quickly upload and publish photos of our beautiful flowers is incredibly important in order to keep Floral Roundabout current. Having a fast connection improves our productivity. We don’t have to worry about buffering and I can also process online orders and keep in touch with my suppliers more quickly.

“We also offer an online shop and online reminder service, so important dates won’t be forgotten. It’s great having a fast and reliable connection and I’m looking forward to seeing the business grow over the coming months.”

Meanwhile, Luxury Hampers and Gifts Ltd, based in Worcester, has got Valentine’s Day all wrapped up, thanks to fibre broadband.

Ellen Halpin-Barnett, the owner, said: “The worldwide web has enabled us to attract customers around the county and around the globe from our base here in Worcester. We offer a range of hampers full of quirky, delicious, mouth-watering treats for all occasions, including many products that are unique to us.

“Fibre broadband is allowing us to upload and update our website with ease, share large artwork files instantly and interact with people via social media. This will help us to expand the business in ways not possible before.”

Broadway jeweller, Simon Waldron, thinks fibre broadband is worth its weight in gold. He is one of three generations of the Waldron family involved in The Goldsmithy, selling a mixture of traditional pieces and contemporary designs.

He said: “We understand the need to evolve in order to attract new customers and exploit new markets. Since getting fibre, I’ve been able to upload pictures onto our website more quickly, and source inspiration, materials and interact with clients far more easily. Our download speeds have increased to 67 megabits per second (Mbps) and the cost is very similar to what we were paying for standard broadband, so it made perfect sense for us to upgrade.”

Fibre broadband is the toast of the Red Lion pub. As well as running a thriving restaurant, specialising in Caribbean cuisine, the pub boasts a business lounge which offers its users free, reliable wi-fi, thanks to Superfast Worcestershire.

Victoria Cullen, the pub’s tenant and chef, said: “Since upgrading to fibre broadband in November we can upload to our website with ease to ensure it’s always up-to-date. We also use social media to let people know about our Caribbean cuisine and other specialist menus.

“But it’s not just at traditionally busy times of the year like the run-up to Valentine’s Day that fibre is proving helpful. Our business lounge is proving popular all year round because of the free wi-fi, something we would struggle to offer without a fast internet connection.”

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member responsible for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: “It’s great to see businesses benefitting from a superfast broadband boost as a result of Superfast Worcestershire. The programme helps to ensure Worcestershire is and remains ‘open for business’.

“The importance of fibre-based broadband cannot be overstated in this digital age and is providing a real boost for the local economy. Having faster connectivity to the internet is crucial to business development and a major factor in the success of Worcestershire’s business community.”

Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for Worcestershire and the West Midlands, said: “Increasingly we’re hearing how a growing number of small and medium firms are recognising the importance of putting fibre broadband at the heart of their businesses.

“Whether it’s updating a website, sourcing materials over the internet, looking for new trading opportunities and markets and around the world, or offering customers free wi-fi access – using fibre broadband makes all these things quicker and easier.”

Anyone wanting more information about the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out can log onto: www.superfastworcestershire.com

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Note to Editors

The Superfast Worcestershire roll-out is using a mixture of technologies. These include Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), which provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), which is capable of delivering download speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps. In addition there are some premises that are currently connected directly to the telephone exchange rather than via a green roadside cabinet, sometimes known as Exchange Only (EO) lines. In order to connect EO lines, further roadside cabinets have to be installed.

Speeds referred to are the top wholesale speeds available from BT’s local network business, Openreach, to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

Press contacts:

Issued on behalf of Superfast Worcestershire by Worcestershire County Council and BT.

For more information please call Worcestershire County Council on 01905 766646 or email commsunit@worcestershire.gov.uk

Or

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

All BT news releases are available at http://www.btplc.com/News

About Superfast Worcestershire:

Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. In the first phase Worcestershire County Council is contributing up to £8.5 million, with an additional £8.9 million from BT, and a further £4.45 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds through the Superfast Britain initiative (please see below) to make a total of £21.85 million.

A further contract to extend the programme was signed in March 2015 to increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access fibre-based broadband in Worcestershire to more than 95 per cent when the private sector’s commercial roll-out of the technology is included. The total amount of funding available for the extension to the programme is £6.2 million, comprising £2.39 million grant funding each from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal, and £1.42 million from BT to make a total of £6.2 million.

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 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