Royal Wootton Bassett residents get on board the broadband bus to find out about high speed fibre

People in Royal Wootton Bassett came out last week (March 11) to find out about the benefits of high speed fibre broadband. 

Representatives from both Wiltshire Council and BT’s local network business, Openreach, were on board the BT Broadband Bus to talk about the many benefits of fibre broadband, how people can get the service as well as offering some support and advice.

Royal Wootton Bassett was the first town in Wiltshire to go ‘live’ with high speed fibre broadband as part of the multi-million pound partnership between Wiltshire Council, South Gloucestershire Council and BT. This partnership has benefited from additional funding from the UK Government’s Superfast Britain programme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The partnership aims to bring speeds of 24Mbps and above to 91 percent of premises in Wiltshire by the end of March 2016 by laying nearly 1,500 kilometres of fibre cabling –the equivalent of London to Rome - and installing more than 300 new street cabinets to make it possible.

Visitors to the bus, parked at Borough Fields car park outside Sainsbury’s, also found out how the council is encouraging more people to get online through the Wiltshire Online digital inclusion programme. Through this programme Wiltshire Council has enlisted the help of a team of volunteers called digital champions, who provide free, basic one to one computer support to people in their local community, helping them to get online and to enjoy the convenience and benefits it can bring.

On the day of the BT Broadband bus visit, Wiltshire Online Digital Champion volunteers were available at Royal Wootton Bassett library to speak to people wanting advice and support and those interested in becoming digital champions themselves.

Through an on-board showcase, visitors to the bus were able to see first-hand how fibre broadband technology works
Wiltshire Council cabinet member for broadband, John Thomson, said: “This was a great opportunity for people in the area to find how they can get superfast broadband and the many benefits it can bring.

“We have invested significantly into this project but it’s hugely worthwhile as the ability to access this vital service will provide a boost for households. It also makes Wiltshire an even more attractive option for businesses looking to re-locate or invest in the county.

“For those who perhaps need a little more help with computers and to get online, there is also plenty of support that we provide up and down the county.”

Matt Lloyd, Programme Manager for BT, said: ”Getting people to see for themselves how high speed fibre broadband can work for them is a great way to explain the benefits of this technology.

“We’re working hard with our partners to roll out fibre broadband as far as we can and part of the challenge is also to make people aware of the fact that it’s available to them.

“Events such as this can help play a part in that awareness raising which is essential in order to see communities fully benefit from high speed fibre broadband.”

Once an area has ‘gone live’, local residents and businesses can get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the Openreach network is ‘open’, people choosing to upgrade have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 companies now operating across the UK.

For more information about the superfast fibre broadband project, including a postcode checker and the council’s digital literacy scheme, people should visit www.wiltshireonline.org


About Superfast Britain
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

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