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District sees near total fibre broadband coverage thanks to multi-million pound Superfast Staffordshire partnership

Press Release   •   Apr 18, 2018 10:00 BST

Cannock Chase district now has near total fibre broadband coverage thanks to a county council scheme with most of Staffordshire also able to connect.

The Superfast Staffordshire programme, run jointly with Openreach and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, has helped to enable 99.3 per cent of Cannock Chase to connect to speeds of 24mbps and above – enough to stream ultra High Definition videos or download 200 photos in less than a minute.

More than 96 per cent of the county can now access high speed fibre – however the Superfast Staffordshire project team is urging more people to discover the benefits of high speed broadband as just over half of those homes and businesses able to connect to a superfast service have yet to do so.

So far, Superfast Staffordshire has enabled around 75,000 households and businesses to connect to superfast broadband speeds. The figure rises to more than 478,000when combined with fibre rollout under commercial programmes.

Some of the latest areas to get connected are Morston Court (Cannock), Prospect Village (Heath Hayes), Blithbury, Brereton Cross, Brocton, Clifford’s Wood, Copmere End and Wetwood, where the technology has become available for the first time, as well as additional areas of Alrewas, Derrington and Essington.

The Superfast Staffordshire roll-out is being carried out by engineers from Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest digital phone and broadband network.

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, said: “Access to superfast broadband is essential to every resident and business in Staffordshire and across the UK.

“Connectivity enables people to live independently and grow more prosperous whilst boosting economic growth and productivity.

“Our Superfast Staffordshire has played a vital part in the delivery of fibre broadband in the county and we are pleased to hit the 95 per cent coverage mark in November, ahead of the national programme. It’s fantastic that one of our districts has near total coverage with the rest of the county pretty close. We’re really urging people now to contact a broadband provider and get connected.

“We are determined now to continue our drive to enable remaining properties to get connected. We’re using a combination of technologies and co-funding solutions to ensure even residents and businesses in the smallest, most remote parts of our county have access to this essential technology.”

Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director of strategic infrastructure development, said: “Deploying fibre broadband to even more of Staffordshire’s smallest, most remote premises can be very challenging and often involve a mixture of complex technologies and processes. But we are working successfully in partnership with local communities to get access to agricultural land and roads in order to ensure our project teams get this new network installed.

“It’s amazing to think just two years ago Britons used less than half the data they do now on their home broadband and this pace shows no signs of slowing. Consumers are doing more and more online and at the same time, from streaming high definition movies and TV, gaming, online shopping to using mobile devises over wireless broadband.

“High speed broadband also breaks down barriers to doing business around Staffordshire and across the globe as it helps small businesses to find new markets, sell new products and communicate more easily and quickly with their customers, suppliers and employees.”

Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach, households and businesses have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. People will need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider.

People can follow the progress of the roll-out via the Superfast Staffordshire website: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk via Twitter @superfaststaffs and Facecbook following Superfast Staffordshire.

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Issued by Staffordshire County Council and Openreach on behalf of Superfast Staffordshire.

For more information please contact Tom Hobbins at Staffordshire County Council on 01785 276832 or email: tom.hobbins@staffordshire.gov.uk

or

Emma Tennant on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com

Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

All Openreach news releases can be accessed on our web site.

About Superfast Staffordshire

Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK) and BT Group. It builds on the commercial roll-outs in the county.

The first phase of the Superfast Staffordshire programme represents an investment of more than £27 million (£7.44 million from Staffordshire County Council, £7.44m from BDUK and £12.47m from BT.)

In the second phase of the programme - known as the Superfast Extension Programme - a total of £10.18m will be spent to deliver superfast fibre broadband to around 12,700 more county premises (£2.7m from unallocated funding combined with cost efficiency savings during contract 1, £2.18m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme, £2.8m from BT Group together with an extra £2.4m also from BT Group following higher than expected take-up of fibre broadband). This will take the percentage of county premises able to access superfast fibre broadband by the end of 2018 to 96 per cent.

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.

Superfast Staffordshire is using a mixture of technologies. These include Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC), which provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, and Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), which is capable of delivering download speeds up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps. Speeds referred to are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all broadband service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

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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 Openreach

Openreach is Britain’s digital network business.

We’re 30,400 people who connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses - large and small - to the world.

Our mission is to build the best possible network, with the highest quality service, making sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

We work on behalf of more than 590 communications providers like SKY, TalkTalk, Vodafone, and BT, and our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, passing more 27 million premises. We’re also the platform for Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20.

We’re working hard to give people the speeds they need to run and enjoy their daily lives. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11 billion into our network and we now manage more than 160 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, from Wales to the east coast. And we’re continuing to take that network further - making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group, and it is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of our revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom.

Any company can access our products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

For the year ended 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

For more information, visitopenreach.co.uk