Multi-million pound partnership to bring superfast fibre broadband to homes and businesses in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
Improved access and opportunities for Staffordshire people as broadband reaches major milestone Thousands of Staffordshire people and businesses will have more opportunities opened up to them through superfast broadband access, following a multi-million pound partnership announced today.
The Staffordshire Broadband project – led by the county council with colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership – has signed a deal with
BT to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to the county by Spring 2016. The partnership will build on commercial rollouts already taking place across Staffordshire, which, together, will
result in more than 472,000 premises – around 97 per cent of homes and businesses – having access to fibre broadband. Around 95 per cent will have access to broadband speeds
of 24 megabits per second (Mbps) and above.
Access to superfast broadband for Staffordshire residents is seen as a priority for the county council as it provides the means to increase opportunities for residents and boost the
local economy. Therefore the county council has invested £7.44 million - with an additional £7.44 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework and £12.47
million from BT - ensuring people across the county can access a range of services whether it be for work, leisure or health; whilst businesses will not be restricted by location.
The remaining few per cent of premises that currently experience low speeds will also see improvements, as the project aims to deliver a minimum of 2Mbps to all homes and
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, Mark Winnington, said: “Today’s contract signing with BT marks perhaps the most significant
milestone in the project so far – meaning work to improve essential superfast broadband access to Staffordshire people can now begin.
“We see this infrastructure as important as road or rail in providing the accessibility and opportunities for our residents and businesses. It will ensure we can compete with other
areas of the UK and Europe. That is why we took the crucial decision to invest £7.44million.
“It’s great to have BT on board to help deliver the project. While it will take a number of years to roll out across the county, work will start straight away and means that the first
communities in Staffordshire will be enjoying high-speed broadband from early 2014 as a direct result of our partnership.”
Bill Murphy, managing director, BT Next Generation Access, added: “Staffordshire led the way in pioneering creative industries, so it is now fitting that the county is
spearheading this dynamic partnership that will not only build on the county’s strong traditions but also, through the development of a high-speed communications infrastructure,
harness economic growth that will herald a new era of creativity and prosperity for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.”
BT was awarded the contract following a procurement exercise through the BDUK framework .
Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “Today’s signing is fantastic news for the people and businesses of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and will help deliver all the
benefits of superfast broadband to 95 per cent of premises. The UK already does more business online than any other European country, and this project will provide a tremendous
boost to the local economy.”
Openreach, BT’s local network division, will now begin the work on the ground with engineers surveying locations around the county and analysing the best way to roll out the
network. The network will be open to all communications providers (CPs) on an equal basis – with more than 80 CPs in the UK already offering fibre services – so consumers and
businesses across Staffordshire will benefit from a highly competitive market, in turn bringing greater choice and affordable prices.
Notes to editors:
The fibre broadband network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications. Users will be able to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and receive large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. Computer processing and storage of files will also become more sophisticated and secure using “cloud computing” technology. There will be faster back up of computer systems and wider use of high quality video conferencing within firms and between them and their customers.
Fibre to the Cabinet will be the main technology deployed. This delivers wholesale downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps - 80Mbps is a wholesale speed – and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps. ISPs (internet service providers) may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen by the ISP. Fibre to the Premises technology – delivering speeds of up to 330Mbps – will also be deployed in certain areas and will be available on demand throughout the whole of the fibre footprint should local businesses want the ultra-fast speed it offers. Openreach has started to roll out FTTP (fibre to the premises) on demand and levies an installation charge for the service. It is up to service providers to decide whether they pass that onto businesses or consumers wishing to take advantage of the product.