Racing ahead…Burghfield leads multi-million pound superfast broadband roll-out

First fibre broadband cabinet unveiled.

Superfast sprinters - local school children take part in race to mark the event. 2,500 Burghfield homes and businesses get access to high-speed fibre broadband.
Burghfield and Burghfield Common are under starter’s orders to become the first West Berkshire communities to benefit from the multi-million pound roll-out of superfast broadband in the district supported by the Superfast Berkshire project.

This month, broadband speeds of up to 80 Mbps¹ become available to 2,500 properties in the two villages, of which 500 are due to the Superfast Berkshire project and 2,000 due to BT’s own commercial roll-out of fibre broadband. The investment will offer local businesses, community and voluntary groups, and individual households all the online benefits fast broadband can bring.

Further expansion is coming soon. It is estimated that the Superfast Berkshire partnership will also this month make fibre broadband available to 1,000 properties in Mortimer and another 100 in Purley on Thames.

To celebrate the arrival of high-speed fibre broadband in Burghfield and Burghfield Common, dignitaries from West Berkshire Council and BT visited the first fibre broadband cabinet in the village. Children from Mrs. Bland’s infant school in Burghfield Common, took part in a ‘superfast’ sprint race at Burghfield recreation ground watched by members of the local community. The event was accompanied by demonstrations of the new fibre technology by BT.

Superfast Berkshire is a partnership between the six Berkshire unitary councils, the Local Enterprise Partnership, BT, and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme. Essentially, it is expanding the commercial provision of fibre broadband in the county by the private sector so that 91 per cent of Berkshire homes and businesses will have access to the technology by September 2015.

Paul Lawrence, Chair of Burghfield Parish Council, said: “Fibre broadband will be a real bonus for a great number of local people. For example, local children will increasingly rely on it as an online aid to learning both as part of their formal education and part of their natural progression towards adulthood. It will also greatly assist local businesses in the area, and do much to help foster community cohesion.”

Paul Baird, director at local Berkshire firm Pink Tomato, said: “Previously our broadband service was only giving us a speed of around 1Mbps. Now we have superfast broadband installed, we used it to deliver a high definition video file to a client in the USA. What would before have taken hours., sometimes overnight, now only takes a matter of minutes. We supplied a client with over 2GB of video within an hour of our superfast broadband being turned on in our premises. Frankly, it's a real game changer to our business."

Roger Croft, West Berkshire’s executive councillor for ICT, said: “It’s great to see the first cabinet in place offering fibre broadband. The Superfast Berkshire project is set to be a success story right across the county with thousands of additional properties reaping the benefits.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director, next generation access, said: “It is great news that by working together efficiently and effectively the partnership has been able to reach this important stage on schedule. This investment in fibre broadband will boost the local economy and help to create and protect local jobs across the whole of Berkshire, including rural communities like Burghfield Common. It will be of enormous benefit to local businesses which can use the faster speeds to improve their competitiveness both within the UK and abroad.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This fantastic news marks the next stage of a remarkable transformation of broadband in Berkshire and we’re on track to deliver access to superfast speeds to 91 per cent of homes and businesses by September 2015. We understand how important access to superfast broadband is - the UK already does more business online than any other European country, and the widespread access to superfast broadband that this scheme will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the Berkshire economy.”

The £8.06 million project is receiving £2.03m investment from BDUK, and £2.03m from Berkshire’s local authorities and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVBLEP). BT has committed £4m to build and operate the network across Berkshire for the lifetime of the contract.

The high-speed service will provide a major boost for local firms, helping them to attract new business and offering them new ways of flexible working. Local residents will benefit from better entertainment and on-line learning opportunities. Local community groups will have an improved opportunity to promote, manage and engage with local people about their work. Fibre broadband gives users the ability to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time such as sending and receiving large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently, accessing school homework networks, watching catch up TV and learning at home via educational websites.

Fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded to Facebook in seconds.

The network is open to all service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Berkshire households and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market.
Further details are now available at http://www.superfastberkshire.org.uk

For further information about the expansion of fast broadband please contact:
Superfast Berkshire communications office on 01635 519125, or kulyatt@westberks.gov.uk, or, the BT Regional Press Office on 0800 085 0660. All their news releases can be found at www.btplc.com/news

These are wholesale speeds. Internet service providers (ISPs) may use different speeds in their advertising. Individual line speeds will depend on network infrastructure and the service chosen by the ISP
About Superfast Berkshire

Superfast Berkshire aims to improve broadband speed and coverage across Berkshire in the areas that are not commercially viable to the private sector. It is part of a UK national initiative (led by Broadband Delivery UK) and backed by all six Berkshire unitary authorities and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (TVBLEP).
Superfast Berkshire has signed a contract with BT to deliver improvements to the broadband infrastructure across the county. Having successfully completed the procurement phase, the project is starting to plan the detailed activity for the deployment phase which is expected to be completed by September 2015.

Further details are available at http://www.superfastberkshire.org.uk

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 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 principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,287m with reported profit before taxation of £2,312m.

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 UK 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