10
June
2016
|
14:59
Europe/Amsterdam

Community team work helps pave the way for expansion of fibre broadband in Burton-on-Trent

Summary
Households and businesses quick to upgrade to faster fibre broadband; Andrew Griffiths MP welcomes latest development and praises collaborative working with local firm, Willshee's, who helped Superfast Staffordshire overcome an engineering challenge.

Hundreds more households and businesses in Burton-on-Trent are now able to access faster fibre broadband thanks to the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out, spearheaded by Staffordshire County Council and BT.

The Wetmore Road area is the latest part of the town to benefit from Superfast Staffordshire, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The news has been welcomed by local residents, businesses and Andrew Griffiths MP, who helped the Superfast Staffordshire project team overcome an unusual engineering challenge.

In most cases, new equipment needed to connect local premises to the fibre optic network is installed on council land, but that was not possible in this case. Mr Griffiths worked with the Superfast Staffordshire team and the local community to help find a suitable solution to enable the upgrade work to go ahead.

As a result, a new fibre broadband metal cabinet and fibre optic cabling has been installed on the site of Willshee’s commercial waste management company.

Now more than 400 more local premises are now able to upgrade, with some already reaping the benefits of faster download and upload speeds.

Andrew Griffiths MP said: “This is a great example of what can be achieved when we work together, and I’m delighted fibre broadband is now live in another part of Burton-on-Trent. I’m keen for as many local people as possible to have access to this important technology and will continue to support Superfast Staffordshire as they work to find solutions for the pockets of the county that are not yet covered.”

Dean Willshee, managing director of Willshee’s said: “When the situation was explained to us, we were pleased to help. The arrival of faster fibre broadband is great news for the area.”

Father-of-two, Dr Paul Smith, who was one of the first residents in the Wetmore Road area to upgrade, said the changeover had gone really smoothly and he and his family had noticed the difference straight away.

He said: “As a family we use the internet in lots of different ways both for leisure and learning. We have all noticed the difference since upgrading to fibre broadband. It was easy to upgrade and our download and upload speeds are now ten times faster making gaming and watching videos online much more fun. We will probably ditch some of our DVDs now and make the most of our smart TV by switching to streaming TV content and downloading films.”

Lee Bailey, managing director of domestic and commercial flooring specialists, Central Floors, based at Northside Business Park, hopes upgrading to fibre broadband will increase the productivity of the firm, which has more than 40 suppliers worldwide and customers in all corners of the UK.

He said: “We rely heavily on the internet to run our company – we use it for everything, from making customer appointments to pricing. Nearly all of our sales are made online so our website is very important to us as our ‘shop window’. We update the site ourselves and hope the improved upload speeds will enable us showcase many more new product lines, and in turn hopefully lead to an increase in our sales.

“I also expect our productivity to improve. We have to share a lot of large design files and photos with our customers and suppliers via email, which we hope will be much quicker after we’ve upgraded to fibre broadband.”

Steve Bowring, managing director of nearby Stemik Gaming Limited – a family-run firm, supplying everything from darts, table football, snooker and pool equipment to gaming and fruit machines – is also hoping upgrading to fibre broadband will be the ‘cue’ for further business expansion.

He said: “These days we do most of our sales online so speed is of the essence. We hope being able to load images and product details more quickly will improve our sales – because the more listings we have, the more sales we can make.

“Our customers are worldwide and we’re proud of our reputation for good customer service. Put simply, faster fibre broadband will help us provide an even better service to our customers, increase the range of items we sell and that in turn will help us expand our business.”

Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economy leader, said: “We’re reaching the final stages of the Superfast Staffordshire project; connecting tens of thousands of properties and opening up opportunities for people and business.From time to time we face a challenge like this, so we’re grateful to Willshee’s and the input of Mr Griffiths. This is going to make a real difference to yet another Staffordshire community.”

Kasam Hussain, BT’s senior project manager for Superfast Staffordshire, said: “The roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire is a huge engineering programme, but the roll-out is progressing well. Every day we’re seeing how this exciting technology is benefiting local people in different ways.”

People can follow the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out via Facebook, Twitter and the programme’s website: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk

Once an area has gone ‘live’, local households and businesses can access broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps* from a choice of fibre broadband providers.

Notes 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.

---ends---

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

For further information about this news release Tom Hobbins at the Staffordshire County Council press office on 01785 276832 or email: tom.hobbins@staffordshire.gov.uk

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

All BT news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre

Photos of the roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire can be downloaded for free from: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1eZqD3

About Superfast Staffordshire

Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BDUK and BT. It builds on the commercial roll-outs in the county.

The first phase of the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out programme represents an investment of more than £27 million (£7.44 million from Staffordshire County Council, £7.44m from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK and £12.47m from BT.)

Staffordshire County Council will receive an extra £2.4m from BT following higher than expected take up of fibre broadband. This will be modelled in due course.

The new deal injects further funding into the County Council’s contract with BT, with a further £1.68m coming from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) and £630,000 from BT.

For those premises not included in the fibre footprint, Superfast Staffordshire is aiming to improve broadband speeds using alternative technologies.

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

    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 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: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, 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