Boost for Shropshire homes and businesses as connecting Shropshire reaches half-way

Around 31,500 homes and businesses across the county are now within reach of faster fibre broadband thanks to the Connecting Shropshire partnership.

The achievement marks the half-way point in the roll-out, which is on course to connect more than 63,000 premises by the end of 2016.

Connecting Shropshire is a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The local milestone comes as the Government today announced two million homes and businesses around the UK are now able to get superfast broadband as a result of BDUK.

The arrival of the new technology has been welcomed by James Frizzell, manager of Bridgnorth’s Majestic Cinema - a traditional three-screen cinema, which dates back to 1937.

James said: “It used to take us a day to download a three-minute trailer. Now, since upgrading to faster fibre broadband, we can download a whole film in about an hour.”

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said: “Connecting Shropshire has done much already to bring faster broadband speeds to rural communities – from Adderley to Yockleton, and Homer to Ightfield. Whilst it’s great news to have reached this milestone in the current phase one contract, we know that there’s still much work to be done to provide faster fibre broadband to even more communities.

“The ongoing procurement for a phase two, and the announcement (on January 29) of additional funding for Shropshire Council to support the roll-out of fibre broadband, demonstrates our continued commitment to connecting as many homes and businesses to fibre broadband as possible.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation broadband, said: “Today marks a giant step forward in the roll-out of fibre broadband in Shropshire and across the UK. Here more than 142,000 homes and businesses now have access to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to Connecting Shropshire and BT’s own commercial fibre broadband programme. We’re now reaching into the hearts of scores of communities across the region that have so far been beyond the reach of this vital technology.

“There can be few areas of modern life which are not influenced in some way by broadband – whether it’s supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves. Now’s the time to embrace high-speed broadband and switch to the superfast lane.”

People wanting to find out if fibre has gone live in their area should log onto the Connecting Shropshire website: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/when-and-where/
Once an area has ‘gone live’, people will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*. Residents and businesses wanting to upgrade should contact their chosen broadband service provider.

The Connecting Shropshire programme is being delivered by a team of more than 50 people planning, building and commissioning the network in the Shropshire Council area.
Note to Editors

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

About Connecting Shropshire

The Connecting Shropshire programme is bringing fibre based broadband to areas where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to provide do so. It’s a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) that will enable more than 62,000 homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband by the end of 2016.

Connecting Shropshire programme website: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/

Photos showing the rollout of Connecting Shropshire can be downloaded for free from:https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1gij7M

All Shropshire Council news stories can be read at http://shropshire.gov.uk/news/