Superfast Worcester on target as 90 per cent of county businesses now able to access faster fibre broadband
Arrival of fibre broadband transforms Strensham Business Park
The number of Worcestershire businesses able to get high-speed fibre broadband has more than doubled in two years*- thanks to the multi million pound Superfast Worcestershire programme, lead partners Worcestershire County Council and BT announced today (August 5, 2016).
The County Council revealed it had achieved its ‘Open for Business’ target of making the technology available to 90 per cent of businesses in the county. And the number of firms with access to fibre is continuing to grow.
Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme and builds on the commercial roll-out of fibre broadband by the private sector.
To mark the key milestone, representatives from Worcestershire County Council were joined by leaders from BT, the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Worcestershire Business Central, Worcestershire Federation of Small Businesses, Hereford and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce and local businesses at Strensham Business Park.
One of the businesses quick to take advantage of the new service is Rural Chartered Surveyors, Carver Knowles. Andrew Troughton, managing director, said: “Superfast fibre broadband is transforming our client relationships, making us more effective and saving us money. In a normal day’s work we have to send lots of emails with large file attachments and most planning applications are now done online so that means more large files to upload. We can update our own website and do everything online we need to quickly and effectively to offer our clients the standout service they need – and we want to provide.
“As far as broadband is concerned we now have everything we need to make the business run smoothly.”
Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member Responsible for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure said: "Worcestershire was unique in including business premises in a specific 90 per cent target in the partnership. Achieving this recognises that the vast majority of businesses in Worcestershire are able grow and develop their business using the benefits of this essential technology, to ensure Worcestershire is and remains ‘Open for Business’."
Paul Bimson, BT’s regional partnership director, said: "Superfast Worcestershire is a multi-million pound engineering programme which is progressing extremely well. When combined with BT’s commercial roll-out, more than 240,000 premises across Worcestershire are now able to access faster fibre broadband.
“Every day we’re seeing how this technology is making a positive impact on local businesses and households. Whether it’s firms like Carver Knowles and other businesses on Strensham Business Park, people working from home, families using the internet for education or leisure – everything you do online is faster and better with fibre broadband.”
News of today’s milestone has been welcomed by Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership. (Worcestershire LEP).
Mark Martin, owner and director of One Creative Environments Ltd and Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Business Board, said: "This technology is vital for businesses. Today’s announcement, as well as the extension to the roll-out, is great news for the economy and I would encourage companies to upgrade so that their business can benefit at the earliest opportunity."
Already, one in three households and businesses have signed up for the faster services. People can follow the progress of the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out via: www.superfastworcestershire.com.
It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the network is being installed by BT’s local network business, Openreach, it is ‘open’, so residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a wide choice of fibre broadband service providers. Local people choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps**.
Note to Editors
* Percentage of business premises in Worcestershire able to access fibre broadband in summer 2014 was 44 per cent. Source: Worcestershire County Council
**These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
About Superfast Worcestershire:
Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. In the first phaseWorcestershire County Council is contributing up to £8.5 million, with an additional £8.9 million from BT, and a further £4.45 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds through the Superfast Britain initiative (please see below) to make a total of £21.85 million.
A further contract to extend the programme was signed in March 2015 to increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access fibre-based broadband in Worcestershire to more than 95 per cent when the private sector’s commercial roll-out of the technology is included. The total amount of funding available for the extension to the programme is £6.2 million, *comprising £2.39 million grant funding each from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal, and £1.42 million from BT to make a total of £6.2 million.
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:
£790m to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017;
- £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities; and
- £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