The first communities in Staffordshire set to benefit from the £27.87 million Superfast Staffordshire fibre broadband partnership from April have been announced.
Fibre broadband will also be extended in parts of Burntwood, Heath Hayes, and Penkridge, meaning more residents and businesses will feel the benefits of faster download and upload speeds.
Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, enabling more than 88,000 homes and businesses – in mainly rural areas – to access high-speed broadband.
The programme will see the laying of more than one million metres of fibre optic cable and around 500 new street-side cabinets installed to connect people to the new network across the county. This partnership rollout is in addition to BT’s commercial rollout which will enable more than 370,000 county premises to access faster fibre broadband by the end of Spring 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 superfast broadband by Spring 2016.
Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure Mark Winnington said: “Our key priority is to bring prosperity and jobs to Staffordshire and superfast broadband is a part of our strategy on achieving this.
“The Superfast Staffordshire project is vital to people and businesses – it will increase opportunities, accessibility and economic growth. This infrastructure is as important as road or rail and means we’ll be on a level playing field with other areas of the UK and Europe. People can also be assured that we will be working extremely hard to find a solution to improving broadband speeds to the remaining five per cent of properties.
“Our partner BT will be working hard to deliver the programme as quickly and efficiently as it can and has carefully programmed the work to get the best value for money and with the least disruption as possible.”
Mike Cook, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “Superfast Staffordshire is a major engineering project but work to connect the first communities is progressing well.
“The internet is playing an increasingly important part in all our lives which is why the strong progress being made by Superfast Staffordshire is so important. Whether it’s small businesses keeping in touch with their customers and suppliers, children doing their homework or playing interactive games online, grandparents staying in touch with their grandchildren, or people that want to work from home. Each of these things is made easier, quicker and better by faster fibre broadband.”
People can track progress on the rollout via Twitter (@superfaststaffs) and the Superfast Staffordshire website. The first communities are due to get faster fibre broadband as a result of the partnership programme from April onwards.
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