Sutton Coldfield businesses are fast to sign up for superfast fibre broadband

Sutton-based international research group says new fibre optic broadband 

is already saving them time and money
A new innovative partnership designed to help more Sutton Coldfield businesses connect to faster fibre optic broadband is proving to be a superfast success.

Around 80 businesses in the town centre are now able to get high-speed fibre optic broadband thanks to Sutton Coldfield Town Centre BID and BT’s local network business, Openreach. And already some local companies have moved fast to reap the benefits by placing orders for the technology.

After hearing that a part of the town centre was unlikely to get superfast fibre broadband as part of any commercial rollout by the private sector or public sector upgrade, the BID approached Openreach which agreed to work with them to find a technical solution as well as to co-fund the project.

The engineering work involved the installation of around 600 metres of fibre optic cable by Openreach engineers and the construction of two new metal fibre broadband road-side cabinets. These cabinets are needed to connect local people onto the new network, which then enables them to get broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*.

Among the first local business people to opt for an upgrade is Jack Adkins, managing director of The Adkins Research Group, in Midland Drive, whose work spans everything from medical research to cake sampling for major retailers.

He said: “The arrival of faster fibre optic broadband is a massive help for us. We have clients around the world and regularly need to stream video and audio files to different countries, so having a fast, reliable broadband connection is really important to us.

“Some of the files we transport and share are really big, so the greater the capacity we have, the better. Having a more reliable connection keeps the information flowing much better, saving us and our clients time and money.

“We now access download speeds of more than 74 megabits per second (Mbps) – more than four times faster than we were getting before – and 17Mbps upload.”

Mike Bushell, Sutton Coldfield Town Centre manager, said: “Internet connectivity is essential to the majority of businesses these days, and many now want the capabilities offered by these super-fast fibre optic broadband connections. It’s also increasingly a prerequisite for businesses looking to relocate, so this collaboration is also an investment in attracting more businesses to the town.

“When we learned that fibre optic was coming to the town centre but not to some key business areas, we stepped in to seek a solution. The outcome was a partnership between the BID and Openreach, which has resulted in the two additional cabinets now being installed and more town centre-based businesses having access to this transformational technology.

“This is a good example of the BID’s work behind-the-scenes to help make Sutton Coldfield a more attractive place to live, work and play.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Sutton Coldfield and the West Midlands, said: “Increasingly, the internet is impacting on every aspect of our lives – at work and at home – that’s why making faster fibre broadband available through this partnership is so important.

“And for many of these local businesses, the timing could not have been better, coming in the run-up to Christmas.

“We’ve seen broadband partnerships like this one in very small rural communities, but this is the first time Openreach has been involved in a project specially tailored to help the needs of businesses in a part of the West Midlands region.

“High-speed broadband enables businesses to do things faster and more effectively – indeed recent research revealed that up to six out of 10 small businesses can grow faster as a result of better connectivity, while 83 per cent can save time and money**.

Evidence also shows that jobs can be safeguarded and created with a high speed broadband connection.”

Because the Openreach network is available to all broadband service providers on an open, wholesale basis, local businesses and residents have a choice of who they take their service from, ensuring competitive prices. There are currently more than 140 fibre broadband providers operating in the UK.

Note to Editors
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
**Source: Plymouth University, November 2013.