Super-fast broadband rollout will boost Staffordshire communities and business, conference is told
• First communities to benefit from multi-million pound partnership are announced;
• New website launched to help Staffordshire communities map progress
Staffordshire’s multi-million pound super-fast broadband partnership will see the first communities benefiting from April next year, it was announced today (Friday).
The announcement coincided with the launch of the new Superfast Staffordshire website to inform local people when and where the faster fibre broadband will be available.
The ambitious programme will see the laying of more than one million metres of fibre optic cable and more than 500 new superfast broadband street-side cabinets
across the county.
It has been scheduled to get the very best value for money and maximum coverage. It will be coordinated with other works and schemes where possible and
will make the best use of existing networks.
The first areas to benefit will be Colton near Cannock Chase and parts of Rugeley.
By 2016, 95 per cent of homes and businesses (roughly 472,000 premises) will have access to superfast broadband. A further two per cent will have access to
fibre-based broadband with the remainder having improved speeds using existing technology. The project is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council –
which has invested nearly £8 milllion - and BT, which has invested £12.47 million. A further £7.4million is being invested by the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK
(BDUK). The project will be completed by spring 2016.
Installation of fibre cables in Horse Fair, Rugeley, will be incorporated into the county council’s £500,000 regeneration project in the area which is scheduled to be
completed in May 2014.
The partnership programme is in addition to BT’s commercial rollout, which will bring faster fibre broadband within reach of more than 360,000 homes and
businesses across the county by the end of spring 2014, with more than 257,000 premises already passed.
People can visit the Superfast Staffordshire website at: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.ukwhere they can view a map* detailing the areas
which are set to benefit from super-fast broadband and when the work will be carried out. It also includes frequently asked questions, latest news and other useful
In conjunction with the new web site launch, Superfast Staffordshire will also be keeping people informed through new twitter and Facebook pages. People can
‘like’ Superfast Staffordshire on Facebook or follow on Twitter @superfaststaffs.
Progress to date will be the focus of an event at St George’s Park today designed also to give local businesses, broadband campaigners, parish councils and
other organisations an insight into the project and the benefits of fibre broadband.
During a series of presentations and workshops, they will hear about the huge engineering challenges involved as well as how they might benefit from the new
technology. Local businesses who are already using faster fibre broadband will explain how it’s given them a competitive edge and improved the services they
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and Infrastructure, Mark Winnington, said: “The Superfast Staffordshire project is vital to
people and businesses – it will increase opportunities, accessibility and economic growth. This infrastructure as important as road or rail and means we’ll be on a level
playing field with other areas of the UK and Europe.
“It is great to see the programme and website launch today as we will see communities across the county start to benefit from as early as April next year. We
know ours was a worthy investment as it will make a real difference to Staffordshire people.
“Our partner BT will be working hard to deliver the programme as quickly and efficiently as it can and has carefully programmed the work to get the best value for
money and with the least disruption as possible.
“We know people will be very keen to find out more about Superfast Staffordshire and the improvements coming their way, so I would urge them to visit
the new website.”
Bill Murphy, BT Group’s managing director of next generation access, said: “Today marks an important milestone for our broadband partnership. Increasingly the
internet is touching the lives of everyone. Small businesses can use fibre broadband to share information more quickly and serve their customers more effectively;
families want to be able to get online on different devices at the same time without worrying about buffering. Those are just some of the many reasons why we’re rolling
out fibre as fast as we can, but it’s a huge engineering undertaking – working with the council will help our network business, Openreach, get the work done as quickly
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Homes and businesses in rural Staffordshire no longer face being left behind, stuck in the digital slow lane.
“Across the county, people will soon have access to superfast broadband for the first time thanks to the investment we are making. Investing in superfast
broadband will deliver real economic benefits. An expert report revealed that for every £1 we are investing in broadband, the UK economy will benefit by £20.”
People in Staffordshire will be able to order fibre broadband from a wide range of internet service providers as the network is open to all providers on an
open, wholesale basis, thereby ensuring competitive prices.