Major boost for county businesses and homes as Superfast Worcestershire passes 50,000 premises milestone

Federation of Small Businesses hails ‘new opportunities’ for local firms; Parts of Alcester, Astwood Bank, Chaddersley Corbett, Droitwich, Druids Heath, Hillside, Kings Norton, Leigh Sinton, Pershore, Redditch, Rubery, Strensham and Upton-on-Severn are among the latest communities to benefit; Pershore businesses tell how technology is transforming the way they work

More than 50,000 households and businesses across the county are now able to get faster fibre broadband thanks to the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out, lead partners Worcestershire County Council and BT announced today.

The high-speed technology is now available to more than 231,000 Worcestershire premises when the private sector’s commercial rollout of fibre broadband is also taken into account.

Parts of Alcester, Astwood Bank, Chaddersley Corbett, Droitwich, Druids Heath, Hillside, Kings Norton, Leigh Sinton, Pershore, Redditch, Rubery, Strensham and Upton-on-Severn are among the latest communities to benefit from Superfast Worcestershire.

To mark the latest major milestone, residents and businesses joined representatives from Superfast Worcestershire in Pershore High Street today, where many organisations are already benefitting from the new technology.

Emma Bangham, programme manager at Number 8, the community arts centre, said: “Using fibre optic broadband has benefited us in a number of ways. Not only is it faster for customers using the free wi-fi in our coffee bar, but also our projectionist can download trailers in the blink of an eye rather than having to wait for hours for them to come through. Faster connections for more parts of Pershore can only be a good thing.”

Pershore-based personal trainer and motivational speaker, Tracy Reck, who runs Naturally Exuberant, said upgrading to fibre broadband has transformed the way she works and stays in touch with her customers.

She said: “I can’t imagine trying to run my business without fibre broadband. A lot of my work is done online using videos. Without fast internet, it would take me a lot longer to write programmes and upload videos. I also like to update my website regularly, which is so much easier and quicker now. I also use Skype for personal training for people who can’t get to the gym.”

Ken Wigfield, Federation of Small Businesses West Midlands Area policy chairman, said: “The Federation of Small Business welcomes the news that fibre roll out in Worcestershire has achieved this significant milestone ahead of schedule. We firmly believe that access to high speed connectivity can open new opportunities for individual businesses and provide a boost for the area’s economic prosperity. The FSB will, however, continue to strive for provision of better connectivity for those so far not embraced by the current rollout and to lobby for a higher minimum speed."

Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: "We're incredibly proud of what we have achieved to date through the programme. By June 2016, we will have enabled more than 90 per cent of the county to have access to faster fibre broadband. This will rise to 95 per cent when we complete our extension programme, which begins later this year. Residents and businesses wanting to upgrade to fibre broadband should go to the ‘How to get it’ section on the Superfast Worcestershire website for more information."

Steve Henderson, BT’s West Midlands regional director for broadband partnerships, said: “Superfast Worcestershire is a huge engineering programme and the roll-out is progressing well. So far our engineers have laid around 500 kilometres of fibre optic cable and installed more than 300 new fibre road-side cabinets that are needed to enable local households and businesses to connect to the network.

“As we extend the reach of fibre broadband further, it’s great to hear how more and more local firms and households are using it to improve the way they do business, learn or spend their spare time, from making online bookings to working from home, everything is easier, quicker and better with fibre broadband.”


Press contacts:

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

For more information please call Worcestershire County Council on 01905 766642 or 01905 766646 or email commsunit@worcestershire.gov.uk.

Alternatively you can contact Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email emma.tennant@bt.comAll BT news releases are available at http://www.btplc.com/News

About Superfast Worcestershire:

Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. In the phase scheduled to end in June 2016, which is due to reach 57,000 premises, Worcestershire County Council is contributing up to £8.5 million, with an additional £8.9 million from BT, and a further £4.45 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds through the Superfast Britain initiative (please see below) to make a total of £21.85 million.

A further contract to extend the programme was signed in March 2015 to increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access fibre-based broadband in Worcestershire to more than 95 per cent when the private sector’s commercial roll-out of the technology is included. The total amount of funding available for the extension to the programme is £6.2 million, comprising £2.39 million grant funding each from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal, and £1.42 million from BT to make a total of £6.2 million.

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

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 more than 170 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. Following the acquisition of EE on 29 January 2016, BT consists principally of six customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, EE, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979m with reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

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.