Black Country Broadband Project gets £1.2 million cash injection as technology roll-out reaches 40,000 households and businesses

Black Country people are being urged to make the most of the new superfast broadband being rolled out across the region. The call comes as the multi-million pound Black Country Broadband Project – led by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and BT – announced it had now reached another major milestone, making the technology available to more than 40,000 premises.

Residents and businesses across the Black Country are being urged to make the most of the new superfast broadband technology being rolled out across the region.

The call comes as the multi-million pound Black Country Broadband Project – led by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and BT – announced it had now reached another major milestone, making faster fibre broadband available to more than 40,000 local premises.

There was more good news as the ambitious partnership confirmed it had secured additional investment for the area from the LEP, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and BT.

The extra £1.2m will enable the Black Country Broadband Project to make the technology available to an additional 2,000 local premises.

Ninder Johal, Board Member for the Black Country LEP, said:This additional funding will help us to roll out fibre broadband even further than we’d originally planned, which is even more great news for Black Country residents and businesses.

“The Black Country Broadband Project is making terrific progress, but we’re keen for more local people to take advantage and upgrade their broadband service, which they can do at little or no extra cost, to ensure they don’t get left behind in a world where so many things rely on us having access to fast, reliable broadband.”

Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for the Black Country and the West Midlands, said: “High-speed fibre broadband enables businesses to share information with their customers and suppliers more easily and quickly, whether that’s around the region or on the other side of the world.

“At home it opens up new learning and leisure opportunities, making it easier for families to connect several devices to the internet at the same time to download music, play games, watch catch-up TV and do research and online shopping, without worrying about buffering.”

So far, engineers from Openreach – the local network business which is part of BT Group - have installed nearly 200,000 kilometres of optical fibre and around 370 fibre broadband road-side cabinets for the Black Country Broadband Project, which is part of the Government’s BDUK programme.

Areas to benefit recently include: Aldridge, Beacon, Bearwood, Bilston, Blackheath, Brierley Hill, Broadwell, Brownhills, Cradley Heath, Dudley/Central, Finchfield, Fordhouses, Halesowen, James Bridge, Kingswinford, Lye, Pelsall, Penn Staffs, Sedgley, Smethwick, Stone Cross, Stourbridge, Streetly, Tipton, West Bromwich, Willenhall, Wolverhampton, and Woodgate.

Because the network is being rolled out by Openreach, residents and businesses opting for an upgrade can choose from a wide range of broadband service providers.

The Black Country Broadband Project was launched to bring fibre broadband to areas of the region that are not already able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of any commercial roll-outs of fibre broadband by the private sector .

For more information on the Black Country Broadband Project visit: www.blackcountrylep.co.uk/place/broadband-plan

Note to Editors

The £18.4 million Black Country Broadband Project is a partnership between Black Country LEP, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, supported by the four local authorities in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Combined investments by BT and other communications providers means high-speed fibre broadband is already available to around 92 per cent of the area – more than 468,000 homes and businesses.

The Black Country Broadband Project will extend the availability of superfast fibre broadband to 99.43 per cent of homes and businesses across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton by the end of 2017.

Funding for the programme is made up of £2.98 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery (BDUK) programme, £12.4 million from BT and £2.98 million from the Black Country LEP’s Growing Places Fund. (This includes the funding announced today).

The Growing Places Fund enables organisations to apply for funding to invest in capital projects, including land, property and infrastructure, which unlock economic growth and create jobs.


Issued by Black Country LEP and the BT regional press office

For more information please contact Helen Annetts, PR on behalf of the Black Country LEP on 07779026720 or email HelenLAnnetts@hotmail.co.uk


Emma Tennant at BT 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 the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

  1. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) aligns activity across private and public sectors to create the right environment for businesses with a remit to tackle barriers to business growth and create a globally competitive local economy.
  2. Programmes to deliver our vision are structured around three areas of activity:
  • Business: supporting skills and competitiveness
  • People: raising skills and employability, for example through our City Deal and Skills Factory;
  • Place: including the provision of more high quality employment land through our Enterprise Zone and City Deal.
  1. The LEP Board has identified seven priority areas where action will have the most impact on the Black Country and its contribution to the national economy:
  • Exploiting the potential of the Black Country as a place to live, do business and invest; focusing on our housing offer, the quality of employment land, and the distinctive role of our four strategic centres.
  • Using supply chains to build business commitment to skills and growth
  • Supporting innovation at our major science and business parks
  • Building a close relationship with our top 600 companies
  • Raising our skills levels
  • Securing inward investment
  • Developing a more entrepreneurial culture
  1. The Black Country located at the heart of the national transport network, comprises the metropolitan boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton. It covers 356 sq kilometres, is home to 1.17 million people, with 23 per cent ethnic minority residents and approximately half a million jobs in 35,000 companies.

    For more information on the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership visit www.blackcountrylep.co.uk or follow on Twitter: @blackcountrylep

    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 20161, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,012m with reported profit before taxation of £2,907m.

    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.

    1The results for the period have been revised to reflect the outcome of the investigation into our Italian business. Detail of which is set out in our third quarter results announcement published on 27 January 2017. This financial information is unaudited.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com

    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.