The number of Worcestershire businesses able to get high-speed fibre broadband has more than doubled in two years – thanks to the multi million pound Superfast Worcestershire programme, lead partners Worcestershire County Council and BT announced last month (August, 2016).
The County Council revealed it had achieved its ‘Open for Business’ target of making the technology available to 90 per cent of businesses in the county. And the number of firms with access to fibre is continuing to grow.
Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme and builds on the commercial roll-out of fibre broadband by the private sector.
To mark the key milestone, representatives from Worcestershire County Council were joined by leaders from BT, the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, Worcestershire Business Central, Worcestershire’s Federation of Small Businesses, Hereford and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce and local businesses at Strensham Business Park.
One of the businesses quick to take advantage of the new service is Rural Chartered Surveyors, Carver Knowles. Andrew Troughton, managing director, said: “Superfast fibre broadband is transforming our client relationships, making us more effective and saving us money. In a normal day’s work we have to send lots of emails with large file attachments and most planning applications are now done online so that means more large files to upload. We can update our own website and do everything online we need to quickly and effectively to offer our clients the standout service they need – and we want to provide.
“As far as broadband is concerned we now have everything we need to make the business run smoothly.”
Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member Responsible for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure said: “Worcestershire was unique in including business premises in a specific 90 per cent target in the partnership. Achieving this recognises that the vast majority of businesses in Worcestershire are able grow and develop their business using the benefits of this essential technology, to ensure Worcestershire is and remains ‘Open for Business’.”
Paul Bimson, BT’s regional partnership director, 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 240,000 premises across Worcestershire are now able to access faster fibre broadband.
“Every day we’re seeing how this technology is making a positive impact on local businesses and households. Whether it’s firms like Carver Knowles and other businesses on Strensham Business Park, people working from home, families using the internet for education or leisure – everything you do online is faster and better with fibre broadband.”
Mark Martin, owner and director of One Creative Environments Ltd and Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Business Board, said: “This technology is vital for businesses. Today’s announcement, as well as the extension to the roll-out, is great news for the economy and I would encourage companies to upgrade so that their business can benefit at the earliest opportunity.”
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. Local people choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps.
Pictured: Worcestershire LEP’s Deputy Chief Executive, Ian Edwards, joins Cllr Ken Pollock to celebrate news that 90% of Worcestershire’s businesses can now access Superfast Worcestershire.