Lechlade celebrates Cotswolds fibre broadband milestone

A Lechlade church choir will sing in the changes next week as the town, along with Kempsford, becomes the first in the Cotswolds to have the chance of faster fibre broadband through the county’s Fastershire project. 

The £56.6 million project aims to take the high speed technology to parts of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire not covered by commercial roll-out plans. 

The St Lawrence Church Choir will help to create a festive atmosphere to mark the first fibre broadband cabinet to go live in the town. They will be joined by Ed Vaizey, the UK Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries and representatives from Gloucestershire County Council and BT. 

More cabinets in Lechlade are scheduled to go live in the next couple of weeks and once the roll-out is completed in the coming months around 1,000 homes and businesses in Lechlade will have access to the technology. 

Lechlade and Kempsford follow Coleford and Whitecroft in the Forest of Dean which both went live recently. 

Cllr Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader of Gloucestershire County Council and local member for Lechlade, said: “We are now starting to see the results of all the hard work that is being done to give local people and businesses in towns and villages throughout the county the opportunities that faster broadband can bring. 

“Faster broadband helps people access services in their community or seek out new markets far away. Business will benefit greatly and all residents in Gloucestershire will benefit through a thriving local economy.” 

The arrival of fibre broadband in Lechlade was welcomed by Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, who said: “The switching on of super-fast broadband in Lechlade is great news for both local residents and businesses. 

Today’s announcement is just part of a transformation of broadband services happening throughout the UK. Broadband is an essential part of the area’s present and future. It is vital that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our economy to remain competitive.” 

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation networks for BT, added: “This is an exciting time for Gloucestershire. A huge amount of engineering work is going on throughout the county but we are making great strides. 

“This project will have a hugely positive impact on rural as well as urban communities in Gloucestershire with fibre broadband providing a whole range of opportunities for households and businesses alike.” 

The switch-on is part of a national initiative, which sees green fibre broadband cabinets in many parts of the country ‘going live’ simultaneously today. Super Switch On Day marks the progress of super-fast broadband partnerships with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – the government agency providing £780 million in public funding to extend super-fast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017. 

Fastershire, a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council, Herefordshire Council and BT, with additional funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, aims to take fibre broadband to around 90 per cent of premises in Gloucestershire by the end of 2015. 

The project is building on BT’s own commercial roll-out which has already made fibre broadband available to 129,000 homes and businesses in Gloucestershire, rising to 142,000 once the roll-out is completed. 
Openreach’s network is open to communications providers on an equal basis, so people in Lechlade can order the service they want from a range of fibre broadband providers to enjoy a far superior internet experience. 

It will also boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, while opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households. 
More detailed information on the roll-out is available at the Fastershire website, www.fastershire.com . 


Notes to editors 

When adding the contract area to BT’s own commercial roll-out, this will deliver access to fibre broadband to 90% of premises across Gloucestershire. 

Openreach provides external CPs (Communications Providers) with a variety of ways in which they can offer fibre broadband to their customers. These include an ‘active’ product – GEA – which comes in various speed combinations and a ‘passive’ product – PIA – whereby CPs can lay their own fibre via our ducts and poles if they want greater control over the service they offer. 

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