Superfast Staffordshire tees up £400,000 plan to help its most remote communities get superfast broadband

A £400,000 drive to make superfast fibre broadband available in even more of Staffordshire’s most remote communities is in full swing. It has been welcomed by Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley. A new golf course will be among the first businesses to benefit.

A £400,000 drive to make superfast fibre broadband available in even more of Staffordshire’s most remote communities is in full swing.

Superfast Staffordshire – the partnership led by Staffordshire County Council and BT - today launched its Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund at Norton Bridge Golf Club, near Stone, one of the rural businesses looking forward to benefiting from the new scheme.

Staffordshire County Council devised the Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund (CFPSF) – believed to be the first local authority-led initiative of its kind - as part of its drive to reach the final four per cent of county premises not currently part of any public or private sector fibre broadband upgrade plans.

The Superfast Staffordshire partnership – which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme - has set aside £400,000 for co-funding projects through its CFPSF.

As part of the scheme, any money raised by households and businesses in an eligible community can be matched by the Superfast Staffordshire Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund. Additional funding towards the extensive engineering work will come from Openreach, BT’s local network business, through BT’s Community Fibre Partnership programme, which is already working with hundreds of communities across the country.

Staffordshire’s unique approach has already been piloted in two communities – Cotwalton village and the Brookside Business Park, near Stone – where upgrade work will be completed later this year.

Today, nearby Cold Norton became the latest community to benefit from the Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund. As a result of this latest deal, around 50 premises in Cold Norton - including the recently opened Norton Bridge Golf Club - will be able to access some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country when the extensive upgrade work is completed within the next 12 months*.

Engineers from Openreach will be installing Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, which is capable of delivering Ultrafast download speeds up to 1 Gigabit and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps.

Culture Secretary, Karen Bradley said: "Nine out of ten homes and businesses in the UK can now get superfast broadband, but we know there is still more to do. We've already taken superfast broadband to an extra 71,000 Staffordshire premises who would otherwise have missed out. Community Partnerships like this will help connect some of the hardest to reach places in the county, making sure no-one is left behind."

Clive Fenton, resident of Cold Norton and community lead for the Community Fibre Partnership, said: “It was hard to accept that our community was not going to automatically have access to high speed broadband and that, to get this technology, we would need to make a contribution towards the cost. We looked at all the options but could see no sustainable solution. However, we were able to make a strong connection with BT and the Superfast Staffordshire team, who were determined to find an achievable solution for the community, and it is fantastic that the ultrafast fibre to the premises (FTTP) technology to be installed will future proof Cold Norton’s access to high speed communications.”

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, said: “Staffordshire is leading the way with a unique solution to connect our most hard to reach communities to superfast fibre broadband. The Superfast Staffordshire partnership has been a resounding success and will enable 96 per cent of properties to access fast broadband by the end of 2018. We have always said we would do all we could to reach the final four per cent and the Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund initiative is one of a number of ways we can do that. It is the first of its kind in the UK and other areas are already looking to follow our example. Access to superfast broadband improves quality of life and means businesses can thrive and that is why connecting communities is a priority to us.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “Partnerships like these help us to bring high-speed connections to challenging areas that the private sector would have difficulty reaching alone.

“Already more than 92 per cent of the UK can access superfast speeds and we’re committed to going even further, making fibre broadband as widely available as possible. This innovative approach in Staffordshire is giving an important new dimension to our Community Fibre Partnerships programme, which is already helping hundreds of similar projects across the UK. As a result, more households and businesses will be able to access faster broadband speeds at highly competitive prices from a wide choice of internet service providers.”

Andy Dennis, owner and manager of the Norton Bridge Golf Club, said: “A good broadband service is vital for our business, and we’re looking forward to being able to offer our members and visitors free, reliable wi-fi when they’re relaxing in the club house after a game.”

For more information and to apply to the Superfast Staffordshire Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund go to: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk/other-information/CFPFund

More information about BT’s Community Fibre Partnership programme is available from: www.communityfibre.bt.com

So far Superfast Staffordshire has enabled around 71,000 households and businesses to connect to superfast broadband speeds. The figure rises to more than 470,000** when combined with commercial fibre roll-outs by private sector companies, such as BT.


Notes to Editors

Any community interested in applying to the Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund needs to register on www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk/other-information/CFPFundfrom where they will be directedtothe BT Community Fibre Partnership website in order to get a quotation for the required upgrade work. Once they have this, the community or business needs to fill in an ‘Expression of Interest’ form so that eligibility checks can be undertaken by the Superfast Staffordshire project team. If successful, a letter will be issued confirming the Superfast Staffordshire CFP support funding offer – up to a maximum of £1,500 per premise - which will be valid for 60 days.

*Superfast Staffordshire is deploying a mixture of technologies. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) provides superfast fibre broadband direct into a building, and is capable of delivering download speeds up to 1 Gigabit and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps. Last Spring, Lymedale Business Centre in Newcastle-Under-Lyme became the first place to get FTTP as part of Superfast Staffordshire. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and download speeds of up to 20Mbps. 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.

People can find out more about the Superfast Staffordshire programme at: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk

**Source: www.thinkbroadband.co.uk


Issued by Staffordshire County Council and BT.

For further information about this news release Tom Hobbins at the Staffordshire County Council press office on 01785 276832 or email: tom.hobbins@staffordshire.gov.uk

OrEmma Tennant at the BT Regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

All BT news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre

Photos of the roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire can be downloaded for free from: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1eZqD3

About Superfast Staffordshire

Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK) and BT. It builds on the commercial roll-outs in the county.

The first phase of the Superfast Staffordshire programme represents an investment of more than £27 million (£7.44 million from Staffordshire County Council, £7.44m from BDUK and £12.47m from BT.)

In the second phase of the programme - known as the Superfast Extension Programme - a total of £8.58m will be spent to deliver superfast fibre broadband to around 11,500 more county premises (£1.6m from unallocated funding combined with cost efficiency savings during contract 1, £1.68m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme, £2.9m from BT together with an extra £2.4m also from BT following higher than expected take-up of fibre broadband). This will take the percentage of county premises able to access superfast fibre broadband by the end of 2018 to 96 per cent.

For those premises not included in the fibre footprint, Superfast Staffordshire is aiming to improve broadband speeds using alternative technologies and community fibre co-funding partnerships.

About Superfast Britain

Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department for 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. £790m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017;
  2. £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities; and
  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

    About BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 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 of six customer-facing lines of business: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 20161, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,012m with reported profit before taxation of £2,907m.

    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.

    1The results for the period have been revised to reflect the outcome of the investigation into our Italian business. Detail of which is set out in our third quarter results announcement published on 27 January 2017. This financial information is unaudited.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com

About Openreach

Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.

Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 560 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.

Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2016, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visit www.openreach.co.uk