Superfast Staffordshire fibre broadband project ‘on track’ as two county villages mark major milestone

Marchington and Draycott-in-the-Clay are latest communities to benefit from Superfast Staffordshire;

More than 20,000 homes and businesses are now within reach of new fibre optic network;

Engineers negotiate remote single track roads and collapsed underground ducts to install new fibre optic network;

St Peter’s Church of England First School welcomes the news
Superfast Staffordshire – the multi-million pound high-speed fibre broadband programme – is celebrating a major milestone, after bringing the technology to two more villages.
Marchington and Draycott-in-the-Clay are the latest rural communities to benefit, where nearly 700 homes and businesses are now able to connect to the new fibre network, partners Staffordshire County Council and BT announced today.

This latest development takes the number of county premises now within reach of the new Superfast Staffordshire network to more than 20,000.

Engineers from Openreach, who are building the network, had to overcome a series of challenges in order to lay the nearly 12,000 metres of fibre optic cable needed to connect the two communities onto the network.

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said: “The high number of single track roads in this part of the county posed new challenges for engineers. However, by working closely with the County Council we were able to ensure engineers got to the more remote areas they needed to work in, whilst keeping disruption to local residents and motorists to an absolute minimum.”

County Councillor, Mark Winnington, said: “This is what the Superfast Staffordshire project is all about – making a real difference to communities across the county in improving business, education and leisure opportunities and accessibility generally. This is great news for people and businesses in Marchington and Draycott-in-the-Clay.

“The County Council sees this as essential infrastructure to Staffordshire people and business and vital for our economy and people’s wellbeing. People here need to have the same opportunities as the rest of the UK and Europe and so for us this is a big step forward. This is a major milestone for us and we now look forward to the remaining roll-out. We are also continuing to work hard to find solutions for the five per cent who will have improved speeds but not high-speed as yet.”

Helen Wright, senior teacher and ICT co-ordinator at St Peter’s Church of England First School in Marchington, said: “We are extremely pleased with this development. Children live in a technological age and this will enhance and enrich our curriculum on a daily basis.”

Additional engineering work will take place in the coming months to connect even more Marchington premises to faster fibre broadband next year.

People wanting to find out if their area has been enabled should use the new online map and easy-to-use line checker on the Superfast Staffordshire website. These allow people to get up-to-date information about the status of an exchange area and to get specific information about premises by entering a postcode or telephone number. It can be accessed by logging onto: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk

Once an area has ‘gone live’, people are able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*. It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the Openreach network is ‘open’, residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 companies now operating in the UK.

During the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out, more than one million metres of fibre optic cable and around 500 new street-side cabinets will be installed to connect people to the new network across the county. This partnership roll-out is in addition to BT’s commercial rollout which has already made fibre broadband available to more than 290,000 premises across the county.
Notes to Editors:
* These are the top wholesale speeds available from BT’s local network business Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

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:
1. £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017
2. £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
3. £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