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MP praises progress of Digital Derbyshire as fibre rollout passes 90k premises

Press Release   •   Aug 18, 2016 11:05 BST

Mid Derbyshire MP Pauline Latham has been finding out more about the rollout of fibre broadband across some of the most rural areas of her constituency.

The MP visited a new green roadside fibre broadband cabinet on Nottingham Road in Spondon, as well as the nearby Willowcroft telephone exchange.

Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, were on hand to explain how fibre broadband works, how the rollout is taking place, and why it’s making such a big difference to everyday life across Derbyshire.

Pauline Latham OBE MP: “I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to meet with BT and find out more about broadband coverage in Mid-Derbyshire. It is great to hear Mid-Derbyshire has 94 per cent superfast broadband coverage, more than the national average, but we need to make sure this coverage is being utilised by rural homes and businesses.

“I know BT has already confirmed more than £200 million to be reinvested in superfast broadband coverage, which is even more than expected. This together with the £1.7 billion committed by the Government will ensure we reach the target of getting 95 per cent of the UK covered by the end of 2017.”

Digital Derbyshire is a partnership between Derbyshire County Council, BT and the Government that has already made fibre broadband available to more than 90,000 homes and businesses.

The project, which first made the new technology available in January 2015, remains on course to increase fibre broadband coverage across Derbyshire to more than 98 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of 2018.

Across the Mid Derbyshire parliamentary constituency, around 7,000 homes and businesses now have fibre broadband for the first time thanks to Digital Derbyshire. That’s in addition to more than 34,000 in the local area already able to benefit from BT’s commercial rollout.

Paul Bimson, BT’s regional partnership director for the East Midlands, said: “A great deal of work is taking place across Derbyshire to make fibre broadband available to as many people as possible. It’s clearly making a huge difference to rural communities that can now access a whole range of new services thanks to faster download speeds. There’s still more to do but we’re progressing really well.”

By the end of 2018, it's expected that more than 474,000 homes and businesses across Derbyshire will have access to fibre broadband thanks to the multi-million pound Digital Derbyshire contract (104,000 properties), and BT’s own commercial roll-out of the technology (370,000 properties).

High speed fibre broadband boosts the competitiveness of local firms and offers new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.

At home, fibre broadband enables a family to simultaneously download a movie, watch a TV replay service, surf the internet and play games online all at the same time. A whole album can be downloaded in less than 30 seconds and a typical feature length HD movie in less than 10 minutes, whilst high-resolution photos can be uploaded in seconds.

For more information visit www.digitalderbyshire.org.uk.