Thousands more Staffordshire households and businesses to get fibre broadband boost thanks to £5 million pound expansion

Around 40 additional communities are to benefit from the Superfast Staffordshire fibre broadband roll-out led by Staffordshire County Council and BT, as part of the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

The Superfast Staffordshire broadband partnership has announced a major £5.1 million expansion that will enable around 6,200 households and businesses in some of the county’s smallest communities to access the information superhighway for the first time.

Around 40 additional communities have been earmarked for upgrades as part of the multi-million pound roll-out, lead partners Staffordshire County Council and BT announced today.

They include Rudyard, Cauldon, Alsagers Bank, Baldwin’s Gate, Heritage Park in north Staffordshire, as well as Moddershall, Tixall and Brocton near Stafford. Also set to benefit are Church Leigh, Lower Leigh and Coton-in-the-Clay in East Staffordshire. Other areas include Halfpenny Green, Gospel Ash, Codsall Wood in South Staffordshire, Prospect Village in Cannock Chase district, Chorley, Springhill and Wall near Lichfield, and Wiggington near Tamworth.

The upgrade work will take place during 2017 and the first half of 2018. It is being funded partly by savings made from earlier phases of the roll-out programme, with additional investment coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and BT. This has been triggered by higher than expected take-up of fibre broadband, with more than 30 per cent of county households and premises that are able to upgrade to the new technology choosing to do so.

Once this latest phase is completed, the percentage of county premises able to access superfast fibre broadband will rise to 96 per cent.

Meanwhile, the Superfast Staffordshire partnership said it is working hard to find solutions for communities that are not currently earmarked for any upgrade.

Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, said: “The Superfast Staffordshire programme has made a huge difference to people and businesses across the county in 2016. They are better connected and able to access greater opportunities. As we head into 2017, these expansion plans are great news for some of our most rural communities.

“However, we recognise there is still more work to be done to enable the final four per cent of premises to benefit. That’s why we have launched a funding support programme to compliment the BT Community Fibre Partnership scheme. This allows Superfast Staffordshire to co-invest along with communities that are seeking to undertake a co-funded project. We want to hear from communities who are interested in following in the footsteps of Cotwalton – the first to pilot this approach with us.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, said: “Around 472,000 households and businesses across the county can now access superfast fibre broadband as a result of Superfast Staffordshire and additional private sector investment by companies like BT.

“Whether you’re working from home, doing homework or online shopping, everything is easier and faster with fibre broadband.”

People can follow the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out and find out more about how they could benefit from high speed fibre broadband via the website: www.superfaststaffordshire.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

Or Emma Tennant at the BT Regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.comTwitter: @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, BDUK and BT. It builds on the commercial roll-outs in the county.

The first phase of the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out programme represents an investment of 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.)

Staffordshire County Council has received an extra £2.4m from BT following higher than expected take-up of fibre broadband. This will be used along with a further £1.6m from unallocated funding combined with cost efficiency savings during contract 1, and an additional £1.4m Capex from BT to deliver further fibre coverage. This £5.1m will extend the current Superfast Extension Programme by the further 12 months, delivering an additional 6,200 superfast premises, as outlined above.

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: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, 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

    All BT news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.btplc.com/News