More Worcestershire businesses have appetite for high fibre broadband diet

Robin Walker MP hails Superfast Worcestershire milestone as roll-out passes 10,000 premises 

High-speed fibre broadband is on the menu for 10,000 businesses and homes, thanks to Superfast Worcestershire.

That’s the number of premises now able to connect to the new fibre optic broadband network as a result of Superfast Worcestershire programme being rolled out by partners Worcestershire County Council and BT.
It builds on the commercial roll-out of fibre broadband by BT and other companies, which have already brought faster fibre broadband within reach of more than 70 per cent of the county’s homes and businesses.

Superfast Worcestershire is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK) which yesterday (Thursday) announced 1.5 million premises across the country are now able to access superfast broadband as a result of public-private sector partnerships.

The county milestone was welcomed by Worcester MP, Robin Walker, as he joined representatives from Superfast Worcestershire and local businesses on Sidbury, to mark the 60th fibre broadband cabinet of the project to ‘go live’.

Robin Walker said: “I’m delighted the Superfast Worcestershire programme team has enabled thousands of Worcestershire people the opportunities to benefit from faster internet connections.
“Improving broadband speeds and getting more people online has enormous benefits for our local economy. I now want to see our businesses able to enjoy top quality broadband speeds. As MP for Worcester, I will keep pushing for improvements that will benefit our community and remove inequalities such as those that have affected parts of the 'Faithful City' for far too long.”

Of the 10,000 premises passed by the £20 million Superfast Worcestershire rollout, more than 2,000 are in the city centre.
Fran Frosh, owner of Charlie’s Café Bar, which is housed in a 600-year-old building on Sidbury, was one of the first local entrepreneurs to opt to bring her business up to speed.

She said: “Our café is very unusual. As well as serving vegan and vegetarian foods, we offer specialist dishes for people who suffer from food intolerances, particularly gluten.
“We know many of our customers have checked us out online before they even get here, with some coming from far afield as the USA and Australia! We like to update our menus regularly, and uploading them to our website takes a fraction of the time it used to.

“While they’re here, our customers expect to be able to access the internet and since upgrading to high-speed broadband we’ve been able to offer free wi-fi. Gone are the days of having to run upstairs to reboot the system!”

Councillor Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Skills, Economy and Infrastructure, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement to have extended the provision of fibre broadband to within reach of just over 10,000 premises in the county. In addition, our roll-out programme is currently three months ahead of schedule. This is great news as it means more residents and businesses can access fibre broadband even sooner than expected.”

The fibre broadband cabinets are needed to connect local businesses and homes onto the new high-speed fibre network. Nearly 330 metres of fibre optic cable has been laid to connect this latest road-side cabinet onto the main network.
Bill Murphy, managing director of BT’s Next Generation Broadband programme, said: “Superfast Worcestershire is a huge engineering project, but the roll-out is progressing extremely well.

“Today marks a major milestone for Superfast Worcestershire and coming just a day after the Government confirmed 1.5 million premises are now able to access superfast broadband as a result of these broadband partnerships, demonstrates our commitment to get the job done and to keep up the momentum to ensure as many people in Worcestershire and elsewhere are able to upgrade to faster fibre broadband as quickly as possible.”

Businesses and residents choosing to upgrade to faster fibre broadband can get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mpbs*. The network being installed by Openreach – BT’s local network business – is open, so people can choose from a number of communications service providers, ensuring competitive prices, with more than 140 fibre broadband companies now operating across the UK.

Robin Walker added: “Improving broadband services for people in Worcester has been a priority for me for a number of years and is something I campaigned on even before the 2010 election. Better broadband is good for jobs and entrepreneurs – both of which
I support through my work on the BIS (Business, Innovation and Skills) Select Committee. In my role as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), I am also a big supporter of rolling out broadband to rural communities.”

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

About Superfast Worcestershire

Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. Worcestershire County Council is contributing up to £8.5 million, with an additional £8.9 million from BT and a further £3.35 million from the from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds through the Superfast Britain initiative (please see below).

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 per cent 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