Bull's eye - Worcestershire's most famous fictional village is target for superfast broadband roll-out


The pace of life in one of Worcestershire's best-loved villages is speeding up in the run-up to Christmas, as hundreds more people in Inkberrow - thought to be the place upon which Ambridge is based - get access to superfast broadband, thanks to the Superfast Worcestershire roll-out.


The pace of life in one of the UK’s best-loved villages is set to speed up thanks to the Superfast Worcestershire broadband partnership.

Inkberrow in Worcestershire – thought to be the setting for Ambridge, home of The Archers radio drama – is one of the latest areas to get superfast fibre broadband through the partnership being led by Worcestershire County Council and BT Group as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Around 1,300 households and businesses in Inkberrow are now able to get the technology, including the area around The Old Bull, the pub which is said to be the inspiration for the Archers’ fictional The Bull pub.

Michael McCarthy, pub owner (pictured), said: "Everything is online these days so it's really important to me and to the business that people can look online whilst they are here. With improved broadband speeds we can offer free wi-fi to our customers. In today's digital world this is a service you can't do without, and this is fantastic news for our village pub."

Engineers from Openreach – the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network – have installed nine fibre broadband cabinets to connect local premises to the new network.

Steve Haines, Openreach’s managing director of next generation access, said: “Every day we’re seeing how superfast fibre broadband is changing people’s lives for the better, so we hope it proves a hit here too. It’s particularly good news coming in the run-up to Christmas when the demand for internet-based services like online shopping and ‘click and collect’ is higher than usual, and people are socialising more.

“Because the pub is situated so close to one of the new fibre broadband cabinets, it has the potential to be one of the best connected pubs in the country. And villagers will be able to catch up on missed episodes of The Archers on iPlayer without any buffering.”

Around 250,000 households and businesses across Worcestershire can now access superfast fibre broadband as a result of Superfast Worcestershire and private sector investment by companies like Openreach.

Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member responsible for Economy and Infrastructure, said: "Having access to high speed broadband is vital for Worcestershire's businesses, visitors and residents. The Superfast Worcestershire partnership recognises how crucial it is to ensure our rural communities are connected. The partnership has provided a number of fibre cabinets in Inkberrow, and work to connect more properties in the village is ongoing. People should take note that when the new technology is available, the switch to superfast speeds isn't automatic – customers must upgrade via an internet provider."

The wide-ranging benefits of fibre broadband include:

  • High quality, speedy online access when connecting several devices to the internet at the same time;
  • Playing high-definition online games, streaming music and watching catch-up television without any buffering;
  • Using the internet for homework, shopping and other services more quickly and easily;
  • Being able to quickly upload, share and download large data files and photos via email and over the internet.

Upgrades do not happen automatically. People wanting to benefit from fibre broadband need to order it from their chosen communications provider. Local households and businesses can choose from a wide range of companies offering competitive fibre broadband products and services.

The Superfast Worcestershire roll-out will continue in the Inkberrow area, with three more structures planned, enabling nearly 200 more local premises to get the technology.


Note to Editors

The Superfast Worcestershire roll-out 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. In addition there are some premises that are currently connected directly to the telephone exchange rather than via a green roadside cabinet, sometimes known as Exchange Only (EO) lines. In order to connect EO lines, further roadside cabinets have to be installed.

Speeds referred to are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

About Superfast Worcestershire:

Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. In the first phase Worcestershire County Council is contributing up to £8.5 million, with an additional £8.9 million from BT, and a further £4.45 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds through the Superfast Britain initiative (please see below) to make a total of £21.85 million.

A further contract to extend the programme was signed in March 2015 to increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access fibre-based broadband in Worcestershire to more than 95 per cent when the private sector’s commercial roll-out of the technology is included. The total amount of funding available for the extension to the programme is £6.2 million, comprising £2.39 million grant funding each from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund and the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership through the Government's Growth Deal, and £1.42 million from BT to make a total of £6.2 million.

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 the European Regional Development Fund

The Superfast Worcestershire Broadband Programme is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2014 to 2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in ERDF Projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/england-2014-to-2020-european-structural-and-investment-funds.

The project is receiving £1.1 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. £1 million has been committed to this contract. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.