Campaigners welcome faster broadband as superfast Leicestershire reaches halfway stage

More than 37,000 homes and businesses across Leicestershire are now able to benefit from fast fibre broadband thanks to the Superfast Leicestershire project.

The achievement marks the halfway point in the county council’s rollout of fibre broadband in partnership with BT, which remains on course to make the high-speed technology available to more than 72,000 premises across the county by the end of 2018.

One of the latest communities to benefit from the new technology is the village of Ullesthorpe in the Harborough district, that has been actively campaigning for faster broadband since 2011.

“Our slow speeds were affecting almost everyone even to the point where people were struggling to sell their houses,” said villager Maggie Pankhurst.

“One family’s house sale fell through when their buyer discovered how slow the broadband was. And I was told another two families accepted lower offers on their homes because people felt slow broadband is a major disadvantage.”

Things have changed dramatically in Ullesthorpe since Superfast Leicestershire recently made faster broadband available in the village.

“My husband and I are avid football fans and we can now watch all the games we want to online. We can watch catch-up TV for the first time and even iPlayer works, it all just happens seamlessly; I already take it for granted!” explained Maggie.

In addition to Ullesthorpe, a number of other areas have recently been connected to the fibre broadband network including Frolesworth, Mowsley, Sapcote, North and South Kilworth, Thornton, Donisthorpe and Glen Parva.

Pam Posnett, Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet member for rural broadband, said: “This is a great milestone for the project and I am pleased we are continuing to help more communities and businesses reap the benefits of having access to faster broadband speeds.”

Superfast Leicestershire has now installed 190 new fibre broadband cabinets and laid more than 318,000 metres of underground cables throughout the county.

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, said: “A whole world of opportunity has been opened up to tens of thousands of Leicestershire homes and businesses thanks to the faster download speeds that fibre brings. We’re pleased to have reached the halfway point of the project and look forward to transforming the fortunes of many more communities across the county.”

The next areas set to benefit from the partnership include Tugby, Osgathorpe, Barleston, Hose, Strathern and Harby.

By the end of 2018, it's expected that more than 360,000 homes and businesses across Leicestershire will have access to fibre broadband thanks to the original £18.8m Superfast Leicestershire contract (62,000), the £9.2 million contract extension signed in March (10,000) and BT’s own commercial rollout of the technology (290,000).

Work is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business. Residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and so benefit from competitive pricing and products.

Benefits of fibre broadband include faster download and upload speeds; the ability to access the internet via multiple devices without experiencing a slow connection, faster downloads of films and music, a better online gaming experience, improved file sharing for businesses, solutions based on Cloud computing and being able to work more flexibly.

For more information about Superfast Leicestershire visit www.superfastleicestershire.org.uk or look out for #SuperfastLeics on Twitter.


Notes to Editors
A full case study, including pictures, of Ullesthorpe resident Maggie Pankhurst is available from the BT regional press office.

About Superfast Leicestershire
Superfast Leicestershire is a project that seeks to extend high-speed fibre broadband coverage beyond the existing commercial fibre broadband rollout of companies such as Openreach (a BT Group company) and Virgin Media to support the County Council’s vision that all premises can access superfast broadband speeds by 2018.

As part of the initial £18.8m contract the county council is investing £4.0m in this project. £1.1m has been allocated by the district and borough councils, with an additional £3.4m coming from the Government and £1.2m from the European Union. BT is also contributing £9.1m towards the overall cost of the Superfast Leicestershire project. This contract will ensure high-speed broadband access to 62,000 premises.

The Superfast Extension Programme contract will ensure a further £9.2m of investment to increase coverage. Government is investing £3.45m, £1.45m is from the county council, £2m has been allocated by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership as part of its Local Growth Fund, and £2.3m is from BT. The Superfast Extension Programme contract will ensure high-speed broadband access to more than 10,000 additional premises in Leicestershire.

Many homes and businesses in the county may already have access to fibre broadband. Superfast Leicestershire concentrates on the areas the commercial rollout is not able to reach. In addition to the commitment to extend superfast broadband coverage, Superfast Leicestershire aims to ensure all premises have access to at least 2Mbps.

The county council is keen to ensure that everyone within Leicestershire can benefit from this project as it helps to grow the economy over the coming years. The county council anticipates that this investment in superfast broadband could generate £92m of economic growth by 2021, and will work with local communities as well as help small businesses to adopt technologies and grow.

About Superfast Britain

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 more information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

About Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP)

The LLEP is one of 39 Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs) in the country, set up to spearhead local economic development.
The LLEP has ambitious yet realistic targets to create 45,000 new jobs, lever £2.5 billion of private investment and increase Gross Value Added by £4 billion by 2020, by investing in infrastructure, business support and employment and skills initiatives.
The LLEP has achieved significant success in our area including:
• the most advanced Enterprise Zone in the country, which has attracted the likes of Ashok Leyland and Bosch and created over 250 jobs
• investing its Growing Places Fund to unlock the development of thousands of new homes and employment land and secure the relocation of Formula E (electric motorcar racing) to new international headquarters at Donington Park in Leicestershire
• through City Deal creating its flagship Business Growth Hub and Leicester & Leicestershire to Work Programme.
The LLEP has allocated £3.1m to increase high-speed broadband coverage in Leicester and Leicestershire as part of its Local Growth Deal. Of this £2m have been allocated to Leicestershire County Council and £1.1m to Leicester City Council.
For more information visit www.llep.org.uk

Ullesthorpe case study - Microsoft Word Document (size 13k)