Staffordshire students have unusual designs on Christmas

Artistic students at a Staffordshire village school have got Christmas all wrapped up after being set an unusual design challenge by Staffordshire County Council and BT.

Young people at John Taylor High School, in Barton-Under-Needwood, were tasked with coming up with an imaginative Christmas wrapping paper design to celebrate the forthcoming arrival of high-speed fibre broadband in the village.

It’s the next community to benefit from the multi-million pound Superfast Staffordshire roll-out of faster fibre broadband - the partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The winning design is being unveiled today and then used to wrap up one of the new fibre optic broadband cabinets near the school.

The road-side cabinet in Station Road is one of four that are needed to make the high-speed technology available to around 1,260 village households and businesses. .

The design competition was organised by Superfast Staffordshire as engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – complete the upgrade work in the run-up to Christmas.

Two apprentice engineers involved in the fibre roll-out will be giving students an insight into how the new technology works during a visit to the school today.

When faster fibre broadband goes live in Barton-Under-Needwood from the end of December, villagers who choose to order an upgrade will get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and downloads of up to 20Mbps*.

Miss Donna Evans, curriculum area leader for Art and Design at John Taylor High School, said: “How exciting and unusual the opportunity was to design a wrapping paper that will appear in the village. It’s great to know that fibre broadband is being enabled in Barton because pupils, families and businesses in the area will benefit from the faster and more reliable internet speeds.”

County Councillor Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member for Economy, Environment and Transport said: “Our key priority is to bring prosperity, jobs and increase the educational opportunities of young people in the county, and superfast broadband is part of our strategy to achieve this.

“The roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire is serious business but we thought this competition would be a great way to let the young people and other villagers know that, like Christmas, faster fibre broadband is coming soon, and why it’s so important.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional broadband partnership director, said: “Superfast Staffordshire is a huge engineering challenge but the roll-out is progressing well. Whatever you do on the internet you can do it better with fibre broadband. For example, families who need to connect a number of different devices to the internet at the same time will notice an immediate improvement, while small businesses and homeworkers will be able to share information and large files more easily and quickly.”

Note to Editors
*These are the top wholesale speeds from Openreach and may vary.

Issued by Staffordshire County Council press office and BT.

Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com
Julie Waddicor, Senior Campaigns Officer at Staffordshire County Council, Julie.waddicor@staffordshire.gov.uk

About Superfast Staffordshire
Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BDUK and BT. Superfast Staffordshire is building on the commercial roll-out to bring fibre-based broadband to 97 per cent of premises by Spring 2016.
The partnership is investing more than £27 million (£7.44 million from Staffordshire County Council, £7.44m from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK and £12.47m from BT.)
For those premises not included in the fibre footprint, Superfast Staffordshire is aiming to improve broadband speeds using alternative technologies.
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