Superfast Northamptonshire passes major “halfway” milestone

Local farm and B&B business hails benefits of fibre broadband as the roll-out reaches some of the county’s most rural premises 

More than 28,000 homes and businesses across Northamptonshire now have access to high speed fibre broadband thanks to the Superfast Northamptonshire project.

This milestone marks the passing of the halfway point for the first stage of the ambitious project, led by Northamptonshire County Council in partnership with BT. This first stage aims to make fibre broadband available to more than 56,000 premises in the county by the end of 2015.

Engineers from BT’s local network business Openreach have already installed more than 115 green roadside cabinets and laid over 200kms of new fibre optic cables as part of the first stage of this project. The latest areas to benefit from the programme include parts of Bozeat, Farthinghoe, Kings Sutton, Little Houghton and Middleton Cheney.

Caroline Marriott, a partner of Lower Farm in Barnwell, is delighted with the benefits the new service is bringing to both her farming and B&B businesses.

“We used to struggle with speeds of around 1Mbps which made it difficult to do essential day to day things for our business such as taking bookings from customers, ordering supplies and online banking,” she said “Fibre broadband has propelled us into the 21st century. We’ve saved time, become more efficient and improved the service we offer to our customers. Thanks to the strong Wi-Fi signal in all of our ten bedrooms, our customers can now make calls, including video calls, over the internet which is important because we have a poor mobile signal here.

“We can now also fill in our farming forms online and do essential things like our HM Revenue and Customs training online, which all saves us time and money. We’re now considering moving to an online booking system to further improve the service we offer our customers and to boost our own productivity. All of this from our idyllic rural retreat!”.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for economic growth and strategic infrastructure, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve passed this significant milestone in the project which is absolutely essential if Northamptonshire is going to be able to compete in the global economy.

“As the example in Barnwell demonstrates, the availability of excellent broadband speeds can bring tremendous benefits for businesses as well as the advantages in the home too.

“I’m impressed with the rapid deployment of the superfast infrastructure and look forward to the completion of this first stage of the project by the end of next year. There’s a lot more to come.”

Steve Henderson, regional director of next generation access for BT, said: “We’re making great progress in Northamptonshire and I’m delighted to see more homes and businesses taking advantage of this revolutionary technology. More than 200,000 homes and businesses in the county now have access to the service due to the Superfast Northamptonshire project and BT’s commercial roll-out. The high speed service is boosting the competitiveness of local firms and offering new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.”

The new network is available on an open wholesale basis to all internet service providers, ensuring competitive pricing and products for all local households and businesses.

To access the high-speed broadband network, residents and businesses in the upgraded areas should contact their chosen Internet Service Provider and enquire about a fast fibre connection.

For more information about the project, including the ability to see when services may be rolled out in your area please visit our ‘When and Where’ interactive deployment map, at: www.superfastnorthamptonshire.net

For further information
Enquiries about this news release should be made to the Northamptonshire County Council press office on 01604 367324.

The BT regional press office can be contacted on its 24-hour number: 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News

Notes to Editors

About Superfast Northamptonshire

Superfast Northamptonshire aims to secure access to superfast broadband for all parts of the county by end 2017, bridging the gap where the commercial telecoms market becomes unviable to build the network which supports service provision. Through the Northamptonshire Next Generation Strategy, the county council is investing with telecoms suppliers to deploy fibre based broadband to those parts of the county which would otherwise not be served commercially. This is expected to affect around 90,000 premises across Northamptonshire.

The first stage of the Superfast Northamptonshire project is being taken forward in partnership with BT who were appointed following a procurement through the Government’s Broadband Infrastructure Delivery Framework. This first stage of the project will roll out fibre-based broadband to over 56,000 premises by the end of 2015, of which over 50,100 will have access to superfast broadband (speeds above 24Mbps). This is made possible through a capital investment of £4.08m each by the county council and BDUK plus £3.2m from BT. When combined with BT’s revenue contribution, the total commitment to the broadband roll out is over £16m.

The next major stage of the project commenced in June 2014 when the county council issued its second procurement under the BDUK Broadband Framework. The outcome of this and more news about the further extension of roll out plans is expected to be announced by the end of November.

Almost three quarters of all premises in the county should be covered by the commercial fibre broadband plans of private sector telecoms providers without the need for public investment.

For more information about the project, including the ability to see when services may be rolled out in your area please visit our ‘When and Where’ interactive deployment map, at: www.superfastnorthamptonshire.net. You can also follow us on Twitter @SFastNorthants

About Superfast Britain

Superfast Britain is a UK 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

About BT

BT is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2014, BT Group’s reported revenue was £18,287m with reported profit before taxation of £2,312m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.