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Digital Minister hails 'great success' of Superfast Staffordshire as more north Staffordshire and Moorlands communities to benefit

Press release   •   Jun 30, 2017 10:33 BST

Dom McGrail (left) and Simon Ashbury who run Digital by Default

More than 1,300 further households and businesses across the county are to get access to superfast fibre broadband as a result of a £1.7 million boost to the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out, lead partners Staffordshire County Council and BT announced today.

Crowborough, Freehay, Grindley, Leycett, Little Bridgeford, Oakamoor, Oakley Folly, Ranton Green and Stanshope are among the local communities to benefit from the expansion.

The funding comes from savings made earlier on in the roll-out and additional investment from BT and the Government.

Superfast fibre broadband will start to go ‘live’ in these communities from next Summer.

It’s three years since Superfast Staffordshire began connecting the first premises to the fibre network as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

And local communities have been quick to take advantage of the new technology .The percentage of households and businesses in the county opting for an upgrade has tripled in the past two years, to around 37 per cent.

Bradley, Dapple Heath, Ipstones, Seighford, Swynnerton and Waterhayes Farm are among the local communities where the technology is proving most popular.

Digital By Default, a creative digital agency based at picturesque Fradley Junction, where Coventry Canal joins the Trent and Mersey Canal, near Alrewas, is one of many small businesses to upgrade recently.

Dom McGrail, who runs the firm, which employs seven people, said superfast fibre broadband has transformed the way they work and communicate.

He said: “We use fibre broadband to email documents within the business and to our customers, as well as to manage our sales and to find new business. It’s also vital for updating and building new websites, which is a key part of what we do, as well as downloading our creatives.

“The arrival of fibre broadband could not have come at a more crucial time for our business. We were getting to the stage where we were having to take work home for downloading so often that we were seriously thinking of relocating the business to a town or city. Having access to reliable and affordable superfast broadband means we can stay here, which has been our home for the past 11 years.”

Around 96,000 households and businesses are able to get high-speed fibre broadband as a result of the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out, of which around 72,000 can get superfast speeds of 24 megabits per second (Mbps) and above.

Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock, said: “Our roll-out of superfast broadband in Staffordshire has been a great success so far, and we’ve helped make a high-speed connection available to 96,000 local homes and businesses. We want as many people as possible to benefit from the nationwide superfast roll-out, and I’m delighted another 1,300 premises have now been added to the Superfast Staffordshire programme.”

Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, said: “The Superfast Staffordshire programme is delivering for thousands of residents and businesses across the county. We can see with a business like Digital by Default what a difference it can make and has literally secured its position in Staffordshire. Having innovative enterprise in Staffordshire is crucial to our ongoing economic growth, attracting better skilled, better paid jobs.

“Superfast fibre broadband is essential to business operation and future expansion and it demonstrates why our decision to invest in this project was so important. We are also doing all we can to find solutions to enable the final four per cent of properties to connect. Three years on from the start of the roll-out we are seeing the results of a successful partnership between ourselves, BT and BDUK.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, said: “It’s great that we’re able to make this important technology available to even more people thanks to savings made during earlier parts of the programme by our project teams, further investment and through use of existing infrastructure. At the same time, we’re continuing to work with the county council to find ways to bring high-speed fibre broadband to the Staffordshire premises not yet earmarked for any upgrades, through co-funding projects with local communities and other means.

“More than 464,000 Staffordshire households and businesses can now access superfast fibre broadband as a result of the Superfast Staffordshire partnership and BT’s own roll-out, and we’re committed to making it available as widely as possible.”

Superfast Staffordshire and commercial programmes by the private sector will result in 96 per cent of Staffordshire properties being able to connect to fast fibre broadband by the end of next year.

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Issued by Staffordshire County Council and BT.

For further information about this news release Tom Hobbins at the Staffordshire County Council press office on 01785 276832 or email: tom.hobbins@staffordshire.gov.uk

OrEmma Tennant at the BT Regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com Twitter: @EmmaTennantBT

All BT news releases can be read at www.bt.com/newscentre

Photos of the roll-out of Superfast Staffordshire can be downloaded for free from: https://flic.kr/s/aHsk1eZqD3

About Superfast Staffordshire

Superfast Staffordshire is a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK) and BT. 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 £8.58m will be spent to deliver superfast fibre broadband to around 11,500 more county premises (£1.6m from unallocated funding combined with cost efficiency savings during contract 1, £1.68m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme, £2.9m from BT together with an extra £2.4m also from BT 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.

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 BT

    BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.

    For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.

    British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

    For more information, visit www.btplc.com

    About Openreach

    Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.

    Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 580 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.

    Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.

    Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.

    Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2017, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.

    For more information, visit openreach.co.uk