Superfast Lancashire hits major milestone with half the county passed by fibre broadband
Ten rural communities to get fibre for the first time as a result of the multi-million pound project
More than half of Lancashire homes and businesses are now able to access high-speed fibre broadband.
The rapid progress of the Superfast Lancashire project means that more than half (52 per cent) of the county can now get access to high-speed fibre broadband when BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband is also taken into account. This takes the total number of premises passed with fibre across the county to date to more than 350,000.
Engineers have also begun planning and building the next phase of the Superfast Lancashire project – providing a further 21,500 homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband by the end of March. Once this phase of the roll out is complete, this will take the total number of premises able to access faster broadband as a direct result of the project to more than 39,000, with tens of thousands of more premises to follow over the coming year under subsequent phases of the roll out.
As part of this latest deployment, 10 communities beyond the reach of commercial fibre will now have access to superfast broadband for the first time as a result of the project. The Superfast Lancashire project aims to extend high-speed broadband to 97 per cent of the county’s homes and businesses by the end of 2015.
Communities being connected in this latest phase include; Earby, Kelbrook, Foulridge, Trawden, Wilpshire, Langho and Old Langho, Mellor, Hest Bank, Freckleton and Warton.
This latest phase will also see substantial investment to extend access to faster broadband in a number of Lancashire communities where fibre is already available, including around 1,200 premises in Bacup and a further 10,000 premises in Blackpool.
To date, the project has completed work on over 130 new fibre broadband cabinets with a further 100 built or in progress.
Engineers are expected to complete the latest phase by the middle of March this year with homes and businesses able to start ordering a service from their broadband provider by the end of March.
Residents can look forward to download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps . This allows multiple users in a household to surf the internet, download and share large files of information, upload photographs, and download music, films and television programmes all at the same time, and more quickly than ever before.
County Councillor Sean Serridge, Champion for Digital Inclusion at Lancashire County Council, said: “This is a great achievement and shows we are well on the way to achieving our goal of providing 97 per cent of the county with superfast broadband by the end of next year.
“Superfast broadband is hugely important for the county both economically and socially. There can be few areas of modern life which are not touched in some way by broadband connectivity – whether it’s supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves.”
Steve Edwards, BT director for Next Generation Access for the north of the UK, added: “This is a great achievement, particularly with all the challenges that rolling out a fibre network in such rural and remotely populated county like Lancashire brings.”
“As a result of our partnership, superfast broadband is touching the lives of more and more people around the county, enabling them to do things in ways they’ve never been able to before.
“Superfast broadband will open the doors to countless business opportunities in the county, boosting the rural economy and supporting thriving local communities. Families can connect to different devices at the same time for homework and leisure – as well as sharing photos and videos - without any frustrating interruptions or pauses, while small businesses and homeworkers can interact with colleagues, customers and suppliers more effectively and upload information more quickly.”
Work on the Superfast Lancashire project is well underway across the county – with a total of around 130,000 homes and businesses expected to be connected to fibre broadband by the end of 2014. Openreach engineers are working on laying around 2,700 kilometres of optical fibre cable and installing a total of around 700 new fibre broadband cabinets throughout the Superfast Lancashire Broadband Project area. It is estimated that engineers will complete over a million man hours of work planning and building the network during the lifetime of the project.
The Openreach network is open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis, so residents will be able to choose from a number of different suppliers of fibre broadband.
Superfast Lancashire is a partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT, with additional funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK, as well as the
European Regional Development Fund, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool
In addition to the roll-out of high-speed broadband across the county, a Business Support Centre has opened as part of Superfast Lancashire and is run by a team of specialists to advise small and medium-sized businesses across the county how to use the new technology to enhance their business.
More information is available from: www.superfastlancashire.com
Notes to Editors
Superfast Lancashire’s Business Support Programme is governed by eligibility criteria defined by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) based on size, primary activity, turnover etc. Businesses will be expected to complete an initial short self-certification form which will be validated by one of the advisors.
The programme will link with other key support initiatives across Lancashire. This will enable businesses to gain from the extended benefits of complementary programmes such as Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, subject to not having exceeded their ERDF allowance.
The Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in partnership with Superfast Lancashire.
BT is contributing £30 million to the project whilst £10.8 million will come from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), £16.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund and £5.2 million from local councils (£4.7m from LCC, £300,000 from Blackburn with Darwen Council and £230,000 from Blackpool Council.
This project is part financed by the North West 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