High-speed fibre broadband boost for Rugeley area

Engineers overcome unusual challenges to bring faster fibre broadband to Colton village;

Rugeley is one of the first towns to benefit from Superfast Staffordshire
Rugeley and Colton have become the latest communities to benefit from the multi-million pound Superfast Staffordshire high-speed fibre broadband programme.

An additional 5,350 premises in the Rugeley area now have access to faster fibre broadband as a result of the project, partners Staffordshire County Council and BT announced today.

Engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – had to work across a deep water stream, off Bellamour Way, and overcome other challenges in order to lay the 13 kilometres of fibre optic cable needed to connect more than 250 homes and businesses in Colton onto the new network.

An additional 23 kilometres of fibre optic cable has been laid in Rugeley itself and 30 new street-side fibre cabinets have been installed so far, which will enable local people to access broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and uploads of up to 20Mbps*. Work in the town centre was co-ordinated with the council’s highways department to minimise disruption to local traders, residents and motorists in the Horse Fair area.

The Openreach network is open, which means when fibre broadband has gone live in an area, residents and businesses are able to choose from a range of fibre broadband providers. With more than 140 now operating in the UK, competitive prices for anyone wanting to upgrade are ensured.

Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for the economy, environment and transport, Mark Winnington, said: “Our rollout of the Superfast Staffordshire programme continues with people in Rugeley and Colton the latest to benefit. It means they can access fast broadband speeds for the first time and opens up opportunities in education, employment, leisure and more. In Rugeley, the fibre installation was co-ordinated with the improvement works in Horse Fair and major power upgrade works to minimise disruption. This all means a better connected town and surrounding area for people and business.

“The Superfast Staffordshire project is enabling us to reach communities which previously had no access to superfast broadband. Connecting people through faster speeds is as important as road or rail and means we’ll be ahead of many other areas of the UK and Europe. People should not have to miss out because of where they live or where their business is located.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional broadband partnerships director, said: “Superfast Staffordshire is a huge engineering programme but the rollout is going extremely well.

“Challenges like the ones we faced in Colton – including negotiating the deep village ford – are only to be expected when we’re building a complex network, with engineers often working in very rural areas. However, our teams have the expertise and experience to deal with these sorts of things, and will continue working hard to enable more and more people in the county to access the technology - often for the first time.

“The arrival of fibre broadband means families are better connected and able to do much more online - and faster - than ever before. At the same time it enables local small businesses to compete on an equal footing with larger firms by becoming more competitive and attracting new customers.”

During the Superfast Staffordshire rollout, more than one million metres of fibre optic cable and around 500 new street-side cabinets will be installed to connect people to the new network across the county. This partnership roll-out is in addition to BT’s commercial rollout that will make fibre broadband available to more than 370,000 county premises by the end of 2014.

The combined investment from Superfast Staffordshire, BT’s and other private sector programmes will mean 95 per cent of homes and businesses across the county will have access to super-fast broadband by Spring 2016.

Updates on the roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire are available on the programme website: http://www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk and also on twitter: @superfaststaffs

Notes to Editors
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

About Superfast Staffordshire
Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BDUK and BT. Superfast Staffordshire is building on the commercial roll-out to bring fibre-based broadband to 97 per cent of premises by Spring 2016.
The partnership is investing 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.)
For those premises not included in the fibre footprint, Superfast Staffordshire is aiming to improve broadband speeds using alternative technologies.
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 further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk