South Yorkshire communities urged to exploit broadband boost

More South Yorkshire homes and businesses than ever before can now enjoy faster, fibre broadband through the £27 million Superfast South Yorkshire broadband rollout. 

And more than 50,000 (44 per cent) premises within the Superfast South Yorkshire programme area who can, have already signed up to faster broadband. However, this still means tens of thousands of people could be benefitting but aren’t.

Thanks to the programme, a partnership between the four South Yorkshire local authorities, UK Government and Openreach, advances in technology and some innovative engineering, communities in locations initially considered unviable for fibre technology are now able to connect.

Communities such as Stainborough, Eastwood, Sykehouse and Beauchief are just some of the most recent to have ‘gone live’ with access to fibre, with homes and businesses now able to connect to blistering broadband speeds via fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology. This future-proof network has enough capacity to support the ever-growing demand for data hungry devices and services for decades to come. It can carry speeds of up to 1Gbps1 - 21 times faster than the UK’s current average.

David Shanks, a YouTuber from Cantley in Doncaster, signed up as soon as the new full fibre technology became available. He said: “I produce YouTube videos to share my passion for gaming with my subscribers but sadly even after compressing the videos and reducing their quality it could often take an entire day to upload just one.

“Since the upgrade I can now live stream to a global audience and broadcast my gameplay in ultra-HD at a constant 60-frames-per-second. I can also play the latest online games while still making videos – before it was one or the other. Being able to directly interact with my viewers really helps me to build up a relationship with them too.”

Today, faster broadband offers a more reliable service and the ability to access services which a few years ago simply wouldn’t have been an option. Many people are already taking advantage of ‘the Internet of Things’ using remotely controlled heating, lighting and security cameras in their homes – all powered by broadband. Some can even put the kettle on for their morning cup of tea from the comfort of their bedroom.

Devices such as smartphones and tablets are working more effectively now that photos, videos and apps can be stored and run from The Cloud, freeing up space and enabling devices to perform at their best.

Businesses are also benefitting from cloud-based services as well as making efficiency improvements and cost savings through improved online sales and marketing and better online ordering and invoicing systems. A social media presence these days is a must and a stand out website opens businesses up to a global market.

Martin Owens, Superfast South Yorkshire programme manager, said: “It’s great that more than 50,000 homes and businesses within the programme area have signed up to faster broadband speeds - some of which are the fastest available in the UK.

“However, that means there are another 60,000 or so homes or businesses that are potentially missing out on the many benefits of having faster, more reliable broadband. Some people may not realise it’s available or think it will be too expensive. I would encourage them to go online, check availability and shop around for the best price – it is often the same price or cheaper than standard broadband.

“Other people may not think they need it but with the average family owning and using eight internet devices it can make the world of difference. This technology is for everyone not just heavy internet users. It can remove a lot of stress from a household!”

Upgrading to fibre broadband doesn’t happen automatically. To benefit from faster speeds, people first need to check online to see if their area has been fibre enabled, before getting in touch with the broadband provider of choice to arrange an upgrade.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s regional director in the North, said: “We are really pleased to see so many people signing up to access superfast and ultrafast broadband. It shows the importance of this partnership, which is making better broadband more widely available, particularly in more rural areas.

“It’s especially heartening to see us reaching communities that eight years ago, when the programme launched, we didn’t think we would get to. Yet here we are bringing them the very latest full fibre broadband technology thanks to experience, advances in technology and some innovative engineering.

"Faster broadband speeds are such an important part of everyday life, and essential for many small businesses. We know there’s more to do, and some communities are still waiting to be connected, and we look forward to going even further in the future.”

As part of the second phase of Superfast South Yorkshire, Openreach has started to roll out FTTP more widely in the programme area, and across the UK, with plans to reach four million homes and businesses across the UK by the end of March 2021, and, if the conditions are right, to go significantly beyond. For more information or to find out if fibre is available please visit openreach.co.uk or http://www.superfastsouthyorkshire.co.uk/