Superfast South Yorkshire team expands alongside the fibre network

Superfast South Yorkshire has recruited three new staff to help spread the word that thousands more South Yorkshire homes and businesses can now access fibre broadband, thanks to the multimillion pound programme.

Superfast South Yorkshire has recruited three new staff to help spread the word that thousands more South Yorkshire homes and businesses can now access fibre broadband, thanks to the multimillion pound programme.

Two of the new recruits, Martin Owens from Sheffield and Johnny Reay from Barnsley, will be dealing with enquiries from local residents and businesses on the broadband roll-out, visiting local communities and attending events to explain the benefits of the new technology. The third new team member, Julie Whitehead from Barnsley, will be working on additional projects aimed at improving connectivity and usage of broadband in South Yorkshire. There are plans for a further expansion of the team in the near future.

Natalie Ward, programme manager for Superfast South Yorkshire, said: “Rolling out fibre broadband across South Yorkshire is a great achievement, but it’s vital to make sure people are aware of the opportunities offered by this exciting technology and that it is available to order. Martin and Johnny will be out and about in communities making sure people know when they can order it, how they can order it and most importantly how the faster broadband can benefit them.

“Equally, it’s important that people can ask questions and get information about the roll-out as and when they need it. So, if they can’t find the answers they need on the Superfast South Yorkshire website, Julie is ready and waiting to pick up enquiries.

“I’m really pleased that Superfast South Yorkshire is creating much needed jobs for local people and am looking forward to being able to announce further recruitment in the future.”

In recent weeks parts of Askern, Bawtry, Bentley, Kiveton and Wales have all been upgraded. On average 500 South Yorkshire homes and businesses are ‘going live’ every month.

New recruit, Johnny added: “I work on demand stimulation – helping to keep the public informed about where and when fibre is coming and ensuring people know how to sign up for a service.

“I’m involved in everything from managing social media and attending public awareness events to helping deal with people’s broadband enquiries. It’s a steep learning curve because people expect you to know absolutely everything there is to know about broadband. I am certainly living and breathing fibre broadband and strongly believe that access to this technology is going to have a positive impact on communities and businesses throughout South Yorkshire.”

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in a few minutes; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Benefits for businesses include faster file and data transfers, better access to cloud computing services and software, more sophisticated web-based contact with customers and support for more flexible working.

Rob Powell, BT’s regional partnership director for Yorkshire and the Humber said: “Since the first Superfast South Yorkshire fibre street cabinet went live, hundreds of kilometres of underground fibre optic cable have been laid and 200 new street cabinets installed in what is one of the city region’s largest civil engineering projects in recent years.

“The network, provided by BT’s local network business, Openreach, is open to all broadband service providers – which helps to drive competition and affordable prices. In fact, fibre broadband can now be a similar price to slower broadband so I would urge anyone who can get fibre to place an order with their internet provider superfast.”

Superfast South Yorkshire was formed in September 2014 as local authorities joined forces with BT in a £22 million deal to extend the availability of high-speed, fibre broadband. A further £4.8 million in additional funding has been secured, which will extend the reach of fibre broadband to 99 per cent of South Yorkshire. The project is jointly funded by Sheffield City Region LEP, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund and BT.

For further information on the Superfast South Yorkshire programme visit http://www.superfastsouthyorkshire.co.uk.