Rural village is first to get superfast broadband thanks to district funding

High-speed fibre broadband is coming to the rural village of Swinford three months ahead of schedule, enabling more residents and businesses to benefit from the Superfast Leicestershire project.

Swinford is the first village in the Harborough area to benefit from a £530,000 investment by the District Council to roll-out high-speed fibre broadband to more rural areas locally. This is part of the £18.8 million Superfast Leicestershire partnership between Leicestershire County Council and BT.

High-speed fibre broadband is now available to more than 200 homes and businesses within the village and surrounding area. In total, Harborough District Council’s investment will see 12 new broadband cabinets installed across the district, increasing the availability of fast, fibre broadband to more than 2000 homes and businesses by the time the project completes in March 2016.

These will be in addition to around 2000 properties in the Harborough area which can already access high-speed fibre broadband services as a result of work carried out using the original Superfast Leicestershire funding.

Blake Pain, Harborough District Council Leader, said: “The project’s aim is to dramatically improve internet speeds for businesses and residents in rural areas and I am pleased to see Swinford become the first village to benefit from additional district council investment. I look forward to more places being connected as the roll out continues.”

Superfast Leicestershire aims to make fibre broadband available to 62,000 homes and businesses by the end of March 2016. It builds on the private sector’s rollout of fibre broadband; BT’s commercial rollout in Leicestershire has already made high-speed fibre broadband available to more than 293,000 local homes and businesses.

Pam Posnett, Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet member for broadband, said: “It’s great that the additional district investment is enabling us to deploy further into rural areas. Superfast broadband makes a real difference to the strength of our communities and local economy and I look forward to hitting our eventual target of 62,000.”

So far, more than 16,000 homes and businesses in Leicestershire already have access to high-speed fibre broadband, since the Superfast Leicestershire project started.

Paul Bimson, BT’s regional partnership director in the East Midlands, said: “Fast, reliable fibre broadband provides a massive boost to rural communities like Swinford that have been previously struggling with slow broadband speeds. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.”

So far, BT has laid more than 170 kilometres of fibre cables and installed more than 80 new roadside fibre broadband cabinets across Leicestershire as part of Superfast Leicestershire. The project has been making a difference to the lives of local people since the first orders were placed in July 2014.

BT’s network is open to all internet service providers thereby ensuring competitive pricing and products for local households and businesses.People are now encouraged to contact their providers and sign up to the high-speed fibre service. For further details on how to upgrade are available at www.superfastleicestershire.org.uk.

Notes for Editors

Superfast Leicestershire is a project that seeks to extend high-speed fibre broadband coverage beyond the existing commercial fibre broadband rollout of companies such as Openreach (a BT Group company) and Virgin Media to 96% of premises. We anticipate that 62,000 premises will be able to access fibre broadband.

The county council is investing £4.0m in this project. £1.1m has been allocated by the district and borough councils, with an additional £3.4m coming from the Government and £1.2m from the European Union. BT is also contributing £9.1m towards the overall cost of the Superfast Leicestershire project.

Many homes and businesses in the county may already have access to broadband. Superfast Leicestershire concentrates on the areas the commercial rollout is not able to reach. In addition to the commitment to extend superfast broadband coverage, Superfast Leicestershire aims to ensure all premises have access to at least 2Mbps.

The county council is keen to ensure that everyone within Leicestershire can benefit from this project as it helps to grow the economy over the coming years. The county council anticipates that this investment in superfast broadband could generate £92m of economic growth by 2021, and will work with local communities as well as help small businesses to adopt technologies and grow.

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 more information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk

The Superfast Leicestershire project is part financed by the 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