Multi-million pound high-speed broadband programme races ahead to celebrate key 500th cabinet milestone

4km of fibre cable installed to reach rural area

The multi million pound Get Digital Faster programme has reached a major milestone in the delivery of high-speed fibre broadband across Greater Manchester. Its 500th roadside cabinet has now been installed, taking the total number of households and businesses able to get fibre broadband as a result of this programme to more than 46,000.

The milestone was reached in the rural, picturesque village of Mellor, near Marple in Stockport, where it was celebrated by the local community. It will serve more than 200 premises in the area.

Engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, had to install around four kilometres of fibre cable to reach the community. The challenge included needing to access underground boxes to lay the fibre cable under a narrow A-road. As the road is very steep, debris and dirt had gathered in the boxes and thishad to be cleared out before the fibre could be laid.

The Reverend Alex Sanders, Vicar of Mellor, said: “As a rural community, it’s really important to keep in touch and see what’s on; life here is all about communicating. We can’t wait to have faster broadband as we have two parts to our communications – the church has a Twitter feed and deals with enquiries that come into the website, and we also host events, meetings and training at the old school, which is now our community centre. We have everything from karate to tea and friendship for locals and the University of the Third Age has run courses here on internet use for senior citizens. These courses help people access more services online, enable them to get better value for money and have more choice in whatever they are looking to buy.”

Leader of Stockport Council Alex Ganotis commented: “I’m delighted that we have reached this milestone on the Get Digital Faster programme. As the way we all communicate and do business evolves, access to a reliable, high speed internet connection is an essential part of unlocking the potential of Stockport.

“The work of the Get Digital Faster programme means that thousands more businesses and homes have superfast broadband on their doorsteps. I would encourage everyone to go online and check whether you can switch and enjoy the benefits this will bring.”

Tony Morgan, BT’s programme director, said:“This switch to high speed, high performance technology will fire up the economy across the region, and make access to everyday products and services easier, quicker and better value for money. New jobs, homework, new business opportunities, social media and entertainment are all at your fingertips when you have high-speed broadband.We’re really pleased with the rapid progress of Get Digital Faster. The programme is a great example of people and businesses benefitting from private and public sector partnership investment.”

Residents can now benefit from broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps[1]. This allows a number of people in a household to surf the internet, download and share large files, upload photographs, and download music, films and television programmes all at the same time, and more quickly than ever before.

Get Digital Faster is a £15 million partnership between BT, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and eight local authorities – Stockport as the lead, with Bolton, Bury, Oldham, Rochdale, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan.

Overseen by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), more than 47,000 homes and businesses will be able to access fibre broadband by Spring 2017. This builds on networks already installed by the private sector. When combined with BT’s own commercial rollout, almost 690,000 properties in the region can now access the technology.

Work on the programme is speeding ahead.Openreach engineers are laying around 400 kilometres of fibre cable – the equivalent of twice around the Greater Manchester boundary - and installing around 590 new street cabinets across the region. It is estimated that 150 people involved in delivery will complete 500,000 hours of work planning and building the network during the lifetime of the project.

The Openreach network is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis.When an area has gone ‘live’ for fibre, people need to opt for an upgrade from a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 now operating in the UK.

Residents or businesses who want to find out more about Get Digital Faster can visit www.get-digital-faster.info.

For press/media inquiries please contact:

Janet Hare, BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660;

Kate Ruddick, Stockport Council Communications on 0161 474 3071.

Notes to Editors

About BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services.BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com

About BDUK

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

    About ERDF

    The Get Digital Faster project is part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013.

    The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit


    [1]80Mbps and 20Mbps are wholesale speeds. ISPs may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen by the ISP

    [MR1]This is only about 1,000 more than the current figure. Is this correct?

    [MR2]The region is the North West, but presumably 690,000 is a Greater Manchester figure? If so, we should be clear on this.