Published: Monday, 30 March 2015
A £5.6 million programme to roll out superfast broadband across Telford and Wrekin will take a big step forward on Friday – when a major engineering partnership contract is signed with BT.
It will enable more than 9,300 residents and businesses that cannot currently access faster fibre broadband to do so by the end of 2017.
The development has been hailed by Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey.
He said: "Our roll out of superfast broadband is on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 and I'm delighted that Telford and Wrekin are joining our programme.
“Once completed, this project will make Telford and Wrekin one of the best connected areas of the UK, providing a huge boost to the local economy."
Telford & Wrekin Council is committed to improving the coverage of superfast broadband for its residents and businesses and the contract signing sees the launch of Superfast Telford, a partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council and BT.
The ‘Superfast Telford’ broadband programme is jointly funded by Telford & Wrekin Council, who are contributing £2m, BT, who are contributing £1.6 million and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, which is contributing £2m.
Surveys and engineering work will start in Autumn 2015 and the first households and businesses will be able to access the new Superfast Telford fibre optic network from Spring 2016.
It means that 98 per cent of homes and businesses in the borough will be able to access superfast broadband by the end of 2017, when the project’s rollout is combined with the private sector’s commercial programmes.
Because Superfast Telford is being rolled out by engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network company – the network is ‘open’, which means people opting for an upgrade will have a choice of who they take their fibre broadband from, with more than 140 service providers currently operating across the country.
Local people will be able to follow the roll out and get all the latest information from the Superfast Telford website including a where and when map and a postcode checker, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
Telford & Wrekin Council will continue to work to find solutions for those remaining two per cent of homes and businesses that are not currently benefitting from any private or public sector investment.
Councillor Charles Smith, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Housing, Development and Borough Towns, said: “By providing the infrastructure for faster fibre broadband, we’re supporting our local businesses to more easily and efficiently connect with customers while coping with ever changing business needs as they develop and grow.
“It’s also becoming more and more important for our local residents to access faster speeds as being online becomes a regular part of modern family life.
“Superfast broadband not only makes uploading and downloading quicker but means that everyone in a family can do what they want all at the same time – enabling people to strike a healthy balance between work and play.
“It is also vital to have speedy access as more and more services from the council and other organisations develop online facilities for customers to use.
“Compared to other projects across the country, Telford’s implementation is small in terms of number of premises, but it delivers one of the highest levels of fibre coverage seen to date.
“I am therefore delighted that we are able to sign this deal for BT to install the necessary infrastructure to make superfast broadband available to people who currently don’t have it and look forward to working together.”
Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said: “The launch of this new partnership heralds an exciting new chapter in the development of Telford & Wrekin, and our teams are committed to rolling out faster fibre broadband to as many communities as possible, as quickly as possible.
“Whether it’s children doing their homework or playing games online, grandparents staying in touch with their families on the other side of the world, or people working or running a business from home – everything is easier and quicker with faster fibre broadband.”