Montford bridge celebrates ‘super switch on day’ as fibre broadband goes live

Announcement welcomed by Minister as ‘great news for local households and businesses’ 

Fibre based broadband has arrived in Montford Bridge, Connecting Shropshire announced today. 

More than 160 homes and businesses in Montford Bridge will have access to the new fibre enabled network as the first roadside cabinet to be funded by the programme is ‘switched on’ by Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council portfolio holder responsible for broadband, and Steve Henderson, BT’s general manager for the West Midlands. 

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 superfast broadband partnerships with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – the government agency providing £780 million in public funding to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017. 

Montford Bridge is just one of a number of towns and villages up and down the country that today join the 200,000 premises in mostly rural locations around the UK that are already enjoying access to faster fibre broadband speeds as a result of the BDUK programme. The national rollout is accelerating, with many projects already ahead of schedule; the work in Montford Bridge is two months ahead of target. Already 10,000 premises per week are gaining access to superfast broadband nationally, and this will increase to 25,000 per week in spring 2014, increasing to 40,000 per week by summer 2014. 

Connecting Shropshire, a partnership between Shropshire Council and BT, builds on BT’s own commercial roll-out of fibre broadband so that 93 per cent of homes and businesses in the Council area will have access to fibre broadband by the end of spring 2016. 

The arrival of fibre broadband in Montford Bridge was welcomed by the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who said: “The roll-out of superfast broadband has the potential to transform rural areas, bridging the age-old gap between rural and urban. It will allow businesses to grow and expand and communities to access services in a way that they’ve not been able to before. 

“It will be a massive benefit to everyone who lives in this area, and I look forward to seeing many more of these projects get off the ground.” 

Steve Charmley said: “This is an important step forward. Whether you are a local businessperson wishing to build your company, a student carrying out research or a householder making use of on-line shopping and entertainment, access to high-speed internet has never been more important. In today’s rapidly moving world, fast and sophisticated communications are absolutely vital. They are an essential part of future success.” 

Montford Bridge will be joined by more than 6,000 homes and businesses in Albrighton, Harlescott, Minsterley and Pontesbury that will have access to high speed fibre broadband in the next three months as a result of the multi-million Connecting Shropshire programme. Once an area is enabled, people should check with their internet service provider (ISP) regarding fibre broadband availability, cost and speed. 

BT’s investment of £8.6 million in Connecting Shropshire bolsters the public sector investment, which includes £8.2 million from Shropshire Council and £7.8 million Government funding from BDUK. 

Steve Henderson added: “All over the country fibre broadband is changing people’s lives. It provides a digital gateway to a wealth of opportunities whether it is supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves. 

“Access to high-speed broadband is rapidly becoming a key ingredient for economic growth and is also a major determining factor in where businesses decide to locate. 

“Fibre broadband opens up a whole raft of leading edge software applications that could benefit business – allowing them to work more efficiently, for people to work when and where they want to, to expand their business offerings and to connect with customers, not just locally but all over the world.” 

Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds of up to 80Mbps, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future. 

Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand2 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps 1. 

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services. 

The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office. 

Openreach engineers will install the fibre network which will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis. Households and businesses will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices. 


Notes to editors 

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

2 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product. 

Due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations. 

Connecting Shropshire programme website: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/ 

About Connecting Shropshire 

Connecting Shropshire is the name given to the programme bringing fibre based broadband to areas where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to provide it. There are about 72,000 homes and businesses in the Connecting Shropshire programme area. When added to BT’s commercial roll-out, 93% of premises in the Shropshire Council area will have access to fibre based broadband by the end of Spring 2016. All premises in the programme area will be provided with access to a basic level of broadband (a minimum of 2mbps). 

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