Two Staffordshire villages celebrate becoming the county’s first rural communities to benefit from Superfast Staffordshire

Yoxall and Kings Bromley are first to benefit from multi-million pound fibre 
broadband partnership; 
Children from the two village schools hook up for celebratory online technical twinning; 
Inn landlady welcomes boost for local businesses and residents 

The two picturesque Staffordshire villages of Yoxall and Kings Bromley were today celebrating an important milestone. 

They are the first rural communities in the county to benefit from the £27.87 million Superfast Staffordshire programme. It’s a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. 

As part of today’s celebrations, pupils from the two village schools – The Richard Crosse Primary Church of England School in Kings Bromley and St Peter’s Church of England Primary School in Yoxall - are planning an internet link-up. 

They will be joined by representatives from Staffordshire County Council, BT and other local people to celebrate the ‘switch on’ of high-speed fibre broadband, with ceremonial ribbon cuttings at two of the new road-side fibre broadband cabinets. 

The Crown Inn in Yoxall is also staging a launch event, where locals will be able to drop in and talk to the Superfast Staffordshire team and learn all about this exciting project. 

From today people in Yoxall will be able to enjoy download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*, with Kings Bromley to follow from May 15. The higher speeds will enable villagers to share large files of information, upload photographs, download music and surf the internet faster than ever before. 

The arrival of high-speed broadband will help to lift traditional geographical barriers and bring the world-wide web to the doorsteps of people in the two villages, which are situated just two miles apart. 

During the event the pupils will discuss what they enjoy most about the internet, as well as learning first-hand about the new fibre optic broadband technology from two apprentice engineers from BT’s network company Openreach, who are installing the new fibre optic network. 

As well as laying more than 20 kilometres of cable, three new super-fast road-side cabinets have been put up that are needed to connect around 800 homes and businesses in Yoxall and more than 460 in Kings Bromley to the new fibre optic network. 

Jane Scrimshaw, landlady of the Crown Inn in Yoxall, said: “This is great news for everyone in the village. We already provide wi-fi in the pub, but having fibre broadband as well will enable us to do so much more. 

“Our customers will have an altogether better experience with their connections when they are here, we could put better functionality onto our website, and, personally, I’m looking forward to being able to speed up my business processes as well as being able to stream my favourite programmes and films out of hours.” 

The arrival of super-fast fibre broadband was welcomed by Paul Lovern, head teacher of The Richard Crosse Church of England Primary School, who said: “Use of the internet now touches every part of the curriculum, with pupils using it every day for everything from interactive exercises to doing online research for school projects and a variety of other schoolwork. Without fast connectivity and speeds there is the risk that children will miss out on what is now an essential learning tool, so having fibre in the village is great news.” 

Ceri Roberts-Thomas, acting head teacher of St Peter’s Church of England Primary School, said: “We’re very excited about the prospect of high-speed broadband. Having safe and fast access to the wealth of knowledge on the internet is a fantastic way for the children to learn and achieve. 

“There are hundreds of video and audio clips available on the secure platform that we subscribe to. High-speed internet will bring this knowledge into the classroom faster than ever before.” 

County Councillor, Mark Winnington, said: “This is what the Superfast Staffordshire project is all about – making a real difference to communities across the county in improving business, education and leisure opportunities and accessibility generally. Today we can see real examples of the benefits high-speed broadband can bring and why we invested in it. 

“The county council sees this as essential infrastructure to Staffordshire people and business and vital for our economy and people’s wellbeing. People here need to have the same opportunities as the rest of the UK and Europe and so for us this is a big step forward. This is a major milestone for us and we now look forward to the remaining roll-out. We are also continuing to work hard to find solutions for the five per cent who will have improved speeds but not high-speed as yet.” 

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said: “Superfast Staffordshire is a complex and challenging engineering project, and the good news is the roll-out is progressing extremely well. Today’s announcement marks the start of the deployment throughout the project area, bringing fibre broadband to even more people. 

“The economy of Staffordshire has been undergoing a major transformation and high-speed fibre broadband and other technologies will play a key part in supporting the county’s future growth and prosperity.” 

Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “This fantastic news marks the beginning of a remarkable transformation of broadband in Staffordshire which will see more than 95 per cent of homes and businesses able to access super-fast speeds by Spring 2016. The UK already does more business online than any other European country, and widespread access to super-fast broadband will provide a tremendous boost to Staffordshire’s economy.” 

As the Openreach network is open, when fibre broadband has gone live in an area, Staffordshire people will be able to choose from more than 80 fibre broadband providers, ensuring competitive prices. 

During the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out, more than one million metres of fibre optic cable and around 500 new street-side cabinets will be installed to connect people to the new network across the county. This partnership roll-out is in addition to BT’s commercial roll-out that will enable more than 370,000 county premises by the end of 2014. 

The combined investment from Superfast Staffordshire, BT’s and other private sector programmes will mean 95 per cent of homes and businesses across the county will have access to super-fast broadband by Spring 2016. 
Updates on the roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire are available on the programme website: http://www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk and also on twitter: @superfaststaffs 

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

About Superfast Staffordshire 
Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BDUK and BT. Superfast Staffordshire is building on the commercial roll-out to bring fibre-based broadband to 97 per cent of premises by Spring 2016. 
The partnership is investing 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.) 
For those premises not included in the fibre footprint, Superfast Staffordshire is aiming to improve broadband speeds using alternative technologies. 
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of 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: 
* £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 
* £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities 
* £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