30
June
2016
|
14:30
Europe/Amsterdam

Superfast Worcestershire launches wi-fi boost for county businesses and their customers

Summary
Karen Lumley MP toasts the launch during visit to local pub; Businesses to get stickers to advertise availability of free Wi-Fi.

Karen Lumley MP today (June 30) joined representatives from Superfast Worcestershire, the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership and local businesses to celebrate the increase in availability of fibre broadband for Worcestershire's businesses and to toast the launch of a new sticker campaign to raise awareness of the availability of free Wi-Fi across the county.

The sticker scheme is part of the programme's continuing support for the growth and development of Worcestershire businesses. Around 86 per cent of Worcestershire businesses can now benefit from fibre as a result of the roll-out by the Superfast Worcestershire programme and commercial roll-out by the private sector.

The new eye-catching stickers can be used by pubs, cafes and other businesses to highlight where free Wi-fi is available.

The partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme is boosting Worcestershire businesses by enabling more firms to offer their customers free, fast and reliable Wi-Fi as a result of the roll-out of the technology.

The Nevill Arms pub in Redditch, which recently upgraded to fibre broadband, is one local business backing the new initiative.

Andy Heeley, pub owner, said: "When superfast broadband arrived in Astwood Bank I contacted my Internet Service Provider straightaway to upgrade. Now, with improved speeds, we can offer free Wi-Fi to our customers who can browse the web at their leisure, whether that's on a phone, tablet or laptop. Everything is online these days so it's really important to me and the business that people can look online whilst they are here. The new Wi-Fi stickers are a great way to showcase the service."

Karen Lumley, MP for Redditch, said: "High-speed fibre broadband brings many benefits to local businesses. As the roll-out progresses even more companies are able to benefit from the technology and should then be able to offer free Wi-Fi to their customers.

“It is important that we continue to focus on stimulating demand for the service and ensuring businesses are aware they need to 'sign-up' when fibre reaches their area in order to benefit from improved speeds."

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member Responsible for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure said: "High-speed broadband is an essential tool for any modern business. As the vast majority of Worcestershire businesses can now benefit from superfast speeds as a result of the programme, the new stickers will serve to support their growth and development by raising awareness of the availability of free Wi-Fi to their customers."

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Worcestershire and the West Midlands 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 238,000 premises across Worcestershire are now able to access faster fibre broadband.

“It’s important that people know about the widespread availability of high-speed fibre broadband across Worcestershire and the benefits it brings - especially to businesses. We all expect to be able to access the internet when we are out and about and free Wi-Fi is a great way for businesses to differentiate themselves and offer a better service to their customers.”

The new campaign has been welcomed by Worcestershire LEP, who have contributed additional funding for the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out through the Government’s Growth Deal.

Mark Martin, Owner and Director of One Creative Environments Ltd and Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Business Board, said: "I would urge local businesses to visit the Superfast Worcestershire website at the earliest opportunity to find out how to upgrade to faster internet speeds.

“These free Wi-Fi stickers are a great way for businesses to highlight the availability of this technology at their venues which could be a real selling point for their customers.”

Superfast Worcestershire began connecting the first premises to fibre broadbandaround two years ago enabling more than 55,000 homes and businesses to access the new technology as a result of the partnership - 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, with more than 140 now operating in the UK. Local people choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*.

For a free Wi-Fi sticker for your business, contact superfast@worcestershire.gov.uk.

Note to Editors

*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

---ends---

Press contacts:

Issued on behalf of Superfast Worcestershire by Worcestershire County Council and BT.

For more information please call Worcestershire County Council on 01905 766642 or 01905 766646 or email commsunit@worcestershire.gov.uk.

Alternatively you can contact Emma Tennant at the BT regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email emma.tennant@bt.comAll BT news releases are available at http://www.btplc.com/News

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

About Superfast Worcestershire:

Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. In the phase scheduled to end in June 2016, which is due to reach 57,000 premises, Worcestershire 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:

  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.With effect from 1 April 2016, the group has been reorganised and the customer-facing lines of business are now: Global Services, Business and Public Sector, Consumer, EE, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2016, BT Group’s reported revenue was £19,042m with reported profit before taxation of £3,029m.

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