Multi-million pound Superfast Worcestershire expansion will help make county ‘superfit’ for the 21st century


Major new investment by Superfast Worcestershire will bring superfast broadband to thousands more homes and businesses. The latest development has been welcomed by Government Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock. Meanwhile, the owners of a Worcestershire gym, which recently upgraded, explain how they're using optical fibres to help build muscle fibres!

Superfast Worcestershire today announced a multi-million pound new investment which will help make the county ‘superfit’ for the 21st century.

A £6.2 million expansion is expected to extend the superfast broadband roll-out to more than 5,300 further Worcestershire households and businesses.

Worcestershire County Council has signed a new contract with co-funding partner BT Group, which extends the Superfast Worcestershire programme into a third phase, to reach some of the county’s more remote communities.

When work is complete, more than 96 per cent of Worcestershire homes and businesses will be able to access superfast broadband.

Superfast Worcestershire is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. The latest phase of the roll-out includes around £1 million funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), £3.7 million from BT Group and £1.5 million from BDUK.

Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock, said: “As part of the Government's nationwide roll-out of superfast broadband, Superfast Worcestershire has already reached more than 50,000 local homes and businesses who would otherwise have missed out. But there's still more to do and it's great to hear that another 5,300 premises will now be able to enjoy all the benefits of a superfast broadband connection."

Lift UP Gym at Blackminster Business Park, near Evesham, provided a fitting location for the weighty announcement. The gym, which was opened recently by Harriet Bain and Richard Stovell, is already benefitting from superfast fibre as a result of the Superfast Worcestershire programme.

Richard said: "Being connected to the community is crucial when your business is based in a rural location. One of the reasons we chose Blackminster Business Park for Lift UP Gym, aside from our rural community focus, was wi-fi availability. We offer our members and class instructors free wi-fi – something people increasingly expect when out and about. Having a fibre connection is helping to grow our customer base and allows us to market our new gym and exercise classes online easily and efficiently. It's good news that now even more people will be able to access fibre broadband."

Mid-Worcestershire MP, Nigel Huddleston, welcomed the development. He said: “I am delighted that Phase 3 of the Superfast Worcestershire Broadband roll-out has been announced. It is hard to overstate how critical gaining access to superfast broadband is for Worcestershire residents and I know just how frustrating it has been for the constituents who have not yet been reached by the programme. The full roll-out cannot come soon enough for my constituents and the commencement of this new phase is a significant sign of progress.”

Engineers from Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network, will begin work on the new phase in early 2018 and upgrades are due to be completed in 2019. It builds on the two earlier stages of the programme.

Openreach will be using a mixture of technologies, including Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology capable of delivering ultrafast download speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps*.

The roll-out will focus on increasing speeds to local businesses, in line with Worcestershire County Council's commitment to being 'Open for Business'. Around 90 per cent of structures completed in the third phase will be FTTP.

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member Responsible for Economy and Infrastructure said: "The County Council's continued commitment to improve the level of broadband coverage in Worcestershire shows that we recognise access to high-speed broadband is crucial for residents and businesses alike. These new contracts prove that we are determined to be one of the best connected counties in the UK, and I'm delighted that our programme is going further."

Steve Henderson, Openreach’s Regional Director for Broadband Partnerships, said: “This major investment is a vital new chapter in the story which began nearly three and a half years ago when the partnership began connecting its first premises. It will help make the county superfit for the 21st century.

“Superfast Worcestershire is already a huge success and now we’re set to go even further as it reaches into some of the region’s most remote areas. The roll-out of high-speed broadband across the county has transformed the way people get online, communicate and do business, with more than 263,000 county premises now able to access superfast fibre broadband thanks to the Superfast Worcestershire partnership and private sector roll-outs by network companies like Openreach.”

In addition to the expansion announced today, Worcestershire County Council has committed to take coverage further still by seeking further funding and investing any underspend or other funds arising from earlier contracts . More details on these projects will be announced in coming months.


Press contacts:

Issued on behalf of Superfast Worcestershire by Worcestershire County Council and BT Group. For more information please call Worcestershire County Council on 01905 766646 or email commsunit@worcestershire.gov.uk Or Emma Tennant at the Openreach regional press office on 0800 085 0660 or email: emma.tennant@bt.com Twitter: @EmmaTennantBTAll Openreach news releases are available at our web site.

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 Group, 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 Group to make a total of £6.2 million.

This next phase – Contract 3 - will increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access superfast broadband in Worcestershire to more than 96 per cent when the private sector's commercial roll-out of the technology is included.Superfast broadband is defined as speeds over 24Mbps, The total amount of funding available for Phase 3 is £6.2 million, comprising grant funding from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK programme of £1.5 million, £1 million from the Department for Communities and Local Government European Regional Development Fund and £3.7 million from BT Group to make a total of £6.2 million.

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 broadband service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

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. That means we connect homes, mobile phone masts, schools, shops, banks, hospitals, libraries, broadcasters, governments and businesses – large and small – to the world. It’s our mission to build the best possible network with the highest quality service, and make sure that everyone in Britain can be connected.

Our 30,400 people work on behalf of more than 580 communications providers like Sky, Talk Talk, Vodafone, Plusnet, EE and BT. Our fibre broadband network is the biggest in the UK, covering more than 26.8 million premises. And our technology is the basis of Britain’s thriving digital economy, which is the largest in the G20 as a proportion of GDP.

We’re working hard to give people the broadband speeds they need at work and at home. Over the last decade, we’ve invested more than £11bn into our network. And we now manage more than 158 million kilometres of cable stretching from Scotland to Cornwall, and from Wales to the east coast. But we’re not stopping there – we’re making superfast broadband speeds available to thousands more homes and businesses every week.

We’re an independently governed business within the BT Group. Our business is highly regulated, and more than 90 per cent of our revenue comes from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access our products under the same prices, terms and conditions.

In the year ending 31 March 2017, we reported revenues of £5.1bn.

To find out more about us and what we do, go to openreach.co.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.bt.com/about


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 (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.