More Leicestershire homes and businesses gearing up to reach the high-speed broadband fast lane

*** Media opportunity: Friday, March 13, 10am, Prestwold Hall, Prestwold Lane, Loughborough, LE12 5SQ *** 

***Representatives from Leicestershire County Council and BT will sign the Superfast Leicestershire extension programme contract ***

A £9.2 million contract to expand high-speed broadband to even more rural communities across Leicestershire was signed today (Friday).

The partnership between Leicestershire County Council and BT will see more than 10,000 extra homes and businesses get access to fibre broadband technology as part of the Government’s Superfast Extension Programme.

The latest multi-million pound Superfast Leicestershire contract, signed at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough, includes £3.45m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), £2.3m from BT, £2m from the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP) as part of its Local Growth Deal and £1.45m from the county council. .

Pam Posnett, Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet member for rural broadband, said: “This contract builds on the success of our current rollout and will enable us to drive broadband speeds up across rural Leicestershire.

“This is an exciting project that is continuing at pace, connecting more communities and businesses together thanks to the internet.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, said, “The Superfast Leicestershire partnership has already made fibre broadband available to tens of thousands of homes and businesses across the county. This has transformed the way people use the internet, the services that local businesses are able to provide, and the way that everyone can learn online. We’re delighted to have been selected by the council to work with them to extend that reach even further in the coming years.”

Areas of the county expected to benefit from the contract extension and get access to fibre for the first time include Frisby on the Wreake, Eastwell, Seagrave, Shawell, Lockington, Congerstone, and Orton-on-the-Hill, as well as additional parts of South Wigston, Stoney, Stanton, Blaby, Ullesthorpe and Burton on the Wolds.

An interactive map is now available on the Superfast Leicestershire website that shows the full expected coverage across the county. The first properties to benefit from this latest phase are expected to go live towards the end of 2016, with the rollout expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

More than 25,000 premises already have access to superfast broadband thanks to the first Superfast Leicestershire contract signed between Leicestershire County Council and BT in 2013. As part of this work, 124 green roadside fibre cabinets have already been installed and more than 270kms of fibre cable laid.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "Today's announcement marks the next step in the transformation of the digital landscape of Leicestershire. We want as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband, and this new £9.2 million investment will help us reach another 10,000 local homes and businesses. By 2017, 95% of the UK will be able to access superfast speeds and I congratulate Superfast Leicestershire for the remarkable progress they have made already in helping us deliver this."

By 2018, it's expected that more than 360,000 homes and businesses across Leicestershire will have access to fibre broadband thanks to the original Superfast Leicestershire contract (62,000), this recent extension to the programme (10,000) and BT’s commercial rollout of the technology (290,000).

The Superfast Leicestershire deployment is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business. Residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and so benefit from competitive pricing and products.

Fibre broadband transforms the online experience for residents and businesses alike

o At home it means that everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time. Whether it’s downloading music in minutes, watching catch-up TV or streaming HD or 3D movies, fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services

o Businesses 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 and staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office
For more information on the Superfast Leicestershire project, including access to the interactive map, visit www.superfastleicestershire.org.uk or follow the #SuperfastLeics hashtag on Twitter.


The contract was signed on Friday, March 13, by Pam Posnett, Leicestershire County Council cabinet member for rural broadband, and Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, at Prestwold Hall, Loughborough.


About Superfast Leicestershire
Superfast Leicestershire is a project that seeks to extend high-speed fibre broadband coverage beyond the existing commercial fibre broadband rollout of companies such as Openreach (a BT Group company) and Virgin Media to support the County Council’s vision that all premises can access superfast broadband speeds by 2018.

As part of the initial £18.8m contract the county council is investing £4.0m in this project. £1.1m has been allocated by the district and borough councils, with an additional £3.4m coming from the Government and £1.2m from the European Union. BT is also contributing £9.1m towards the overall cost of the Superfast Leicestershire project. This contract will ensure high-speed broadband access to 62,000 premises.

The Superfast Extension Programme contract will ensure a further £9.2m of investment to increase coverage. Government is investing £3.45m, £1.45m is from the county council, £2m has been allocated by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership as part of its Local Growth Fund, and £2.3m is from BT. The Superfast Extension Programme contract will ensure high-speed broadband access to more than 10,000 additional premises in Leicestershire.

Many homes and businesses in the county may already have access to fibre broadband. Superfast Leicestershire concentrates on the areas the commercial rollout is not able to reach. In addition to the commitment to extend superfast broadband coverage, Superfast Leicestershire aims to ensure all premises have access to at least 2Mbps.

The county council is keen to ensure that everyone within Leicestershire can benefit from this project as it helps to grow the economy over the coming years. The county council anticipates that this investment in superfast broadband could generate £92m of economic growth by 2021, and will work with local communities as well as help small businesses to adopt technologies and grow.

Media enquiries - Kelly Baker-Adams (Media Officer, LCC) Kelly.baker-adams@leics.gov.uk 0116 305 3858 or you can contact the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660.

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

About Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP)

The LLEP is one of 39 Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs) in the country, set up to spearhead local economic development.
The LLEP has ambitious yet realistic targets to create 45,000 new jobs, lever £2.5 billion of private investment and increase Gross Value Added by £4 billion by 2020, by investing in infrastructure, business support and employment and skills initiatives.
The LLEP has achieved significant success in our area including:
• the most advanced Enterprise Zone in the country, which has attracted the likes of Ashok Leyland and Bosch and created over 250 jobs
• investing its Growing Places Fund to unlock the development of thousands of new homes and employment land and secure the relocation of Formula E (electric motorcar racing) to new international headquarters at Donington Park in Leicestershire
• through City Deal creating its flagship Business Growth Hub and Leicester & Leicestershire to Work Programme.

The LLEP has allocated £3.1m to increase high-speed broadband coverage in Leicester and Leicestershire as part of its Local Growth Deal. Of this £2m have been allocated to Leicestershire County Council and £1.1m to Leicester City Council.
For more information visit www.llep.org.uk.