Major boost for Black Country households and businesses as Black Country Broadband Project passes 30,000 premises milestone

Stourbridge firm, Cox & Plant, welcomes technology boost for its international business, as the Black Country Broadband Project continues at a pace. It is led by Black Country LEP and BT, as part of the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

More than 30,000 businesses and households are now able to access high-speed fibre broadband thanks to the ambitious Black Country Broadband Project, lead partners Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and BT announced today.

The latest areas to benefit include parts of Aldridge, Bearwood, Brownhills, Fallings Park, Finchfield, Great Barr, Halesowen, Kingswinford, Lye, Pelsall, Penn, Sedgley, Stourbridge and Wolverhampton.

The progress of the roll-out has been welcomed by Stourbridge-based firm Cox & Plant, which upgraded to faster fibre broadband last month. Since then the company, which produces turnkey solutions for food processing businesses around the world, has seen a 10-fold increase in its broadband download speeds. Cox & Plant specialise in vibratory convey systems however they provide a complete food processing solution designing and installing everything their clients need to move food products through their factories whilst significantly reducing their running costs.

High-speed fibre broadband has supported Cox & Plant in launching its new interactive website. The website acts as the company’s online shop window, enabling it to showcase products and services to customers in Europe and further afield.

The technology also allows for better working with clients, live calls over the internet, the streaming of footage of equipment as well as the showing of the company’s corporate video in the quality it was intended.

Andy Cox, Managing Director Cox & Plant said: “We noticed the difference straight away – in terms of the way we communicate with clients, but also in terms of the positive impact on our European profile.

“We can now receive enquiries at any time and clients can receive and review our detailed drawings whilst in conversation with us. The result is we can discuss and agree each client’s individual requirements more quickly and the whole turn around process is speeded up.

“Looking to the future, faster fibre broadband opens up a whole range of new opportunities for us and will enable us to improve the services we offer which will help us compete even more effectively on a global scale.

“We used to have to wait around two hours for detailed design drawings to download, and often had to ask clients not to send us large files during office hours or vice versa, to ensure the system did not grind to a halt. Thankfully those days are behind us now.”

So far, engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business - have installed around 135 kilometres of fibre optic cable and around 285 fibre broadband road-side cabinets for the Black Country Broadband Project, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Because the new network is being rolled out by Openreach residents and businesses opting for an upgrade can choose from a wide range of broadband service providers.

Ninder Johal, Chair of the Black Country Broadband Group and a Board Member of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said:“The Black Country Broadband Project is really picking up the pace and to have exceeded the 30k milestone is fantastic news. It is also great to hear from business the impact superfast broadband is having both in terms of profile as well as the way in which organisations are conducting their business.”

Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for the Black Country and West Midlands, said: “Faster fibre broadband is changing the way people communicate, learn and do business. Whether you’re updating a website, researching the internet for homework or using it for catch-up TV – everything is easier, better and faster if you use fibre broadband. The project team is working hard to make this exciting technology more widely available, as quickly as possible.”

The Black Country Broadband Project was launched to bring fibre broadband to areas of the region that are not already able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of any commercial roll-outs of fibre broadband by the private sector .

For more information on the Black Country Broadband Project visit www.blackcountrylep.co.uk/place/broadband-plan


Note to Editors

The £12.2 million Black Country Broadband Project is a partnership between Black Country LEP, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, supported by the four local authorities in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.

Combined investments by BT and other communications providers means high-speed fibre broadband is already available to around 92 per cent of the area – more than 468,000 homes and businesses.

The Black Country Broadband Project will extend the availability of high-speed fibre broadband to 98 per cent of homes and businesses across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton by the end of 2017.

Funding for the programme is made up of £2.9 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery (BDUK) programme, £6.4 million from BT and £2.9 million from the Black Country LEP’s Growing Places Fund.

The Growing Places Fund enables organisations to apply for funding to invest in Capital projects, including land, property and infrastructure, which unlock economic growth and create jobs.


Notes to Editors

Cox & Plant Black Country Broadband Project case study attached.

Images available on request.

Issued by Black Country LEP and the BT regional press office

For more information please contact Helen Annetts, PR on behalf of the Black Country LEP on 07779026720 or email HelenLAnnetts@hotmail.co.uk


Emma Tennant at BT on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT All BT news releases are available at http://www.btplc.com/News

About the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

  1. The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) aligns activity across private and public sectors to create the right environment for businesses with a remit to tackle barriers to business growth and create a globally competitive local economy.
  2. Programmes to deliver our vision are structured around three areas of activity:
  • Business: supporting skills and competitiveness
  • People: raising skills and employability, for example through our City Deal and Skills Factory;
  • Place: including the provision of more high quality employment land through our Enterprise Zone and City Deal.
  1. The LEP Board has identified seven priority areas where action will have the most impact on the Black Country and its contribution to the national economy:
  • Exploiting the potential of the Black Country as a place to live, do business and invest; focusing on our housing offer, the quality of employment land, and the distinctive role of our four strategic centres.
  • Using supply chains to build business commitment to skills and growth
  • Supporting innovation at our major science and business parks

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