More than 55,000 Wiltshire premises can now enjoy benefits of faster fibre broadband as Wiltshire Online celebrates major milestone

Residents and businesses in the historic village of Everleigh today (Tuesday, July 28) celebrated the arrival of high speed fibre broadband in their community

Residents and businesses in the historic village of Everleigh today (Tuesday, July 28) celebrated the arrival of high speed fibre broadband in their community. They join more than 55,000 Wiltshire homes and businesses which now have access to fibre optic broadband thanks to the multi-million pound Wiltshire Online broadband project.

This means the programme - which is a partnership between Wiltshire Council and BT with additional funding from the UK Government’s Superfast Britain programme - has already reached three quarters of the homes and businesses set to benefit from it.

More than 300 new roadside cabinets have so far been installed across the county as part of the partnership which will deliver broadband speeds of more than 24Mbps to 91% of premises in Wiltshire by March 2016.

Claire Perry MP said: “I’m delighted that 55,000 premises across Wiltshire are now able to access fibre broadband as this is a great boost for the local economy. I am continuing to champion the rapid rollout to benefit local businesses and communities across the Devizes Constituency and I’m especially pleased that homes and businesses in Everleigh are now able to access Superfast Broadband. Everleigh now has telecommunications fit for the 21st Century!”

Wiltshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, John Thomson, said: “Benefitting communities such as Everleigh is exactly what this project is all about and I am delighted we have reached this milestone.

“An improved broadband infrastructure makes Wiltshire an even more attractive prospect for existing and incomingfamilies and businesses and I look forward to this successful partnership rolling out broadband to even more of the county.”

Simon Curr, owner of Hightrees Organisation Limited based in Everleigh was first to upgrade to high-speed fibre broadband. He said: “Thanks to the hard work and effort put in by Everleigh Parish Council and BT to improve our telephone infrastructure and roll out fibre to the village we can now, as a community, benefit from fast fibre.”

"Hightrees Organisation Limited were the first fibre installation in the village and the improvement in upload and download speeds has made an incredible difference as to how we can operate as an IT business.

"Dealing with IT technologies which can be of benefit to home based or smaller businesses, such as VoIP, websites and applications, cloud storage, remote backups and IT support; means that having suitable upstream bandwidth is essential - something that was a major restriction on our previous ADSL connection.

"With fibre, we are now able to respond quickly to customer requests and it is no longer necessary to shut down any bandwidth hungry applications, before a stable and responsive connection with the customer can be established."

Paul Coles, partnership director for BT, said: “This is an important milestone for Wiltshire that has been delivered thanks to the dedication of hundreds of engineers working hard on what is an incredibly challenging project.”

“As a result of the Wiltshire Online project more homes and businesses across the county are now able to trade, market, video conference, game or watch TV using high speed fibre broadband, and this number is increasing every week.

The village of Everleigh is one of the latest to benefit from the Wiltshire Online roll-out which so far has involved laying more than 1,500 km of new cabling or the equivalent of 11 times the distance of the Ridgeway walk.

Residents and businesses will need to sign up for a fibre package to benefit from improved speeds, but because the network is being installed by Openreach it is ‘open’, everyone can choose from a choice of broadband service providers, with more than 140 now operating in the UK. Local people choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps**.

Wiltshire Council’s Wiltshire Online website www.wiltshireonline.org includes a postcode checker. People cansimply enter their postcode into the checker to get an update on the progress of fibre broadband availability in their area.

Wiltshire Online wants to remove barriers to getting online. If people want help with the basics of computers and the internet, Wiltshire Online has a team of digital champion volunteers across the county who are available to provide support. If they need help, people should call Wiltshire Online on 0300 456 0100

Notes for editors:

For more information please contact the Wiltshire Council communications team on 01225 713115/6 or 01225 713664 or the BT press office on its 24-hour number 0800 085 0660.

For political comment:Conservatives: John Thomson – john.thomson@wiltshire.gov.uk
Liberal Democrats: Jon Hubbard - jon.hubbard@wiltshire.gov.uk
Labour: Ricky Rogers - ricky.rogers@wiltshire.gov.uk
Independents: Ernie Clark - ernie.clark@wiltshire.gov.uk

*More than 157,000 Wiltshire homes and businesses already have access to fibre broadband through BT’s commercial roll-out.

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

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