Superfast Worcestershire, the partnership between Worcestershire County Council and BT spearheading the fibre broadband roll-out, last month announced the parts of the county to benefit first from major expansion plans.
More than 8,000 additional households and businesses across Worcestershire will get access to the technology as a result of the multi-million pound ‘Superfast Extension Programme’.
It will enable people in Arley, Cotheridge and Spetchley to access faster fibre broadband for the first time.
The expansion will also make the new technology more widely available in communities, which already have some fibre broadband. They are Ashton-under-Hill, Badsey, Belbroughton, Broadway, Bishampton, Blakedown, Chaddesley Corbett, Clows Top, Great Witley, Hallow, Hartlebury, Harvington, Kidderminster, Ombersley, Peopleton, Pershore, Rock, Wolverley and Worcester.
The new programme will start to ‘go live’ in these communities from the Summer, following the completion of the first phase of the Superfast Worcestershire Programme, which is making faster fibre broadband available to around 60,000 premises in the county.
The expansion programme will be finished by Autumn 2017, taking the percentage of county households and businesses able to access the technology to 95 per cent. This has been made possible due to additional investment of £6.2 million, comprising £2.39 million each from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership – through the Government’s Growth Deal – and £1.42m from BT bringing the entire Superfast Worcestershire programme to approximately £28 million.
Gary Woodman, Executive Director of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “This technology is vital to ensure that our businesses can compete on a global scale. Extending the availability of Superfast Broadband was, therefore, prioritised for funding through the Worcestershire Growth Deal and today’s announcement is great news for a number of communities. I would encourage all businesses and residents to register to be kept updated so that they can sign up to obtain faster broadband speeds at the earliest opportunity.”
Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister, said: “Our roll-out of superfast broadband has already reached an extra 3.5 million premises so far, and around 50,000 in Worcestershire alone. We’re on track to reach 95 per cent of the country by 2017, and I’m delighted that the extra funding means another 8,000 homes and businesses in Worcestershire will be able to access superfast speeds.”
Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills & Infrastructure, said: “I am very pleased to hear that these communities will benefit from this extra broadband roll-out being announced today.
“More homes and businesses in these areas will now be able to access improved broadband speeds more quickly. This is great news to ensure that we remain competitive and ensure that Worcestershire continues to be a world class place to do business.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “We are committed to extending the reach of faster fibre broadband further so even households and businesses in some of the most remote parts of the county will be able to benefit. It’s a huge engineering programme, but our project teams are working hard to ensure more communities can reap the benefits of this exciting technology, which is revolutionising the way people work, learn, pay their bills, and enjoy their leisure time. Everything is easier, faster and better with fibre broadband.”
Superfast Worcestershire is being rolled out by engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network company. It’s an opt-in service – upgrades do not happen automatically. Anyone opting for an upgrade has a choice of fibre broadband providers, of which more than 140 are currently operating in the UK.
For more information about when faster broadband is coming to an area and how to get it, log onto www.superfastworcestershire.com
Additional communities to benefit from the Superfast Extension Programme will be announced later this year.