12
October
2015
|
15:33
Europe/Amsterdam

Major Broadband boost for 2,000 black country businesses and homes

Summary
More than 2,000 businesses and homes across the Black Country are now able to access high-speed fibre broadband for the first time.

More than 2,000 businesses and homes across the Black Country are now able to access high-speed fibre broadband for the first time.

The important milestone has been achieved as a result of the Black Country Broadband Project, lead partners Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and BT announced today.

As part of the roll-out, engineers have so far installed more than 20 fibre road-side cabinets, which are needed to enable local people to connect to the new network.

Parts of Walsall, Wednesbury and West Bromwich are among the first areas to benefit from the ambitious roll-out.

They include: the St Matthew’s area of Walsall, East Park, south Darlaston, Friar Park, Charlemont with Grove Vale, Hateley Heath, Blackheath, Langley, Rowley, Bristnall, St Paul’s, Tividale and parts of Oldbury.

SBS Ltd in Wolverhampton was also among the first to upgrade to faster fibre broadband with support from the Wolverhampton and Black Country Broadband Connectivity Voucher Scheme, a grant that enables SMEs, charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations based in the Black Country to access high-grade connectivity.

Andy Wyer, SBS Ltd said: “Everything is so much easier and faster since we upgraded to fibre broadband. Connection speeds have increased making web interaction much easier and we are able to back up to the cloud on a daily basis which wasn’t previously possible.”

Because the network is being rolled out by engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – residents and businesses opting for an upgrade have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 currently operating in the UK.

Work will begin later this year on the second phase of the roll-out, which will extend to areas of Brierley Hill, Dudley, James Bridge, Streetly, Tipton and Willenhall.

Ninder Johal, Chair Black Country Broadband Group, LEP Board member said: “Reaching the 2000 milestone is an important step in delivering our ambition of a minimum 98 per cent high-speed fibre broadband availability by the end of June 2017. High speed fibre broadband will bring a terrific boost to the local economy supporting businesses and individuals to connect to and make the most out of the Internet.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director of next generation access, said: “Increasingly the internet is touching our lives in new and exciting ways and transforming virtually everything we do. This is why rolling out faster fibre broadband to more communities is so important.

“Whether people are working from home, applying for jobs, doing online training or running a business, everything is better with high-speed broadband. While at home, fibre broadband enables several people to be online at the same time, so children can do their homework or play games, without interfering with mum and dad doing their online shopping, streaming videos or uploading photos.”

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 commercial roll-outs.

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

ENDS

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.

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

Or

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

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 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
  • Building a close relationship with our top 600 companies
  • Raising our skills levels
  • Securing inward investment
  • Developing a more entrepreneurial culture
  1. The Black Country located at the heart of the national transport network, comprises the metropolitan boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell and Walsall and the City of Wolverhampton. It covers 356 sq kilometres, is home to 1.14 million people, with 23 per cent ethnic minority residents and approximately half a million jobs in 31,000 companies.

    For more information on the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership visit www.blackcountrylep.co.uk or follow on Twitter: @blackcountrylep