The Superfast Worcestershire broadband partnership has announced a major £3.7 million expansion that will enable around 3,000 more households and businesses in some of the county’s smallest communities to get superfast broadband for the first time.
Additional communities across all six districts in Worcestershire have been earmarked for upgrades as part of the multi-million pound roll-out, lead partners Worcestershire County Council and BT announced on 7 March.
They include parts of Wickhamford, Throckmorton, Wick, Heightington, Teme Valley including Eardiston and Stockton on Teme, Holt Fleet, Shelsley Beauchamp and Berrow Green.
The upgrade work will begin in 2017 and take approximately 18 months to complete.
It is being funded by a combination of efficiencies and BT investing new funds as well as some reinvestment of earlier funding under the terms of a ‘Gainshare’ mechanism in the contract, triggered by strong take up of fibre broadband. Nearly 40 per cent of county households and premises able to upgrade to the new technology have already chosen to do so.
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 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 share large files and photos via email and over the internet
The postcode checker on the website, which people can use to find out if their postcode is included in the roll-out, will be updated in the coming weeks. A map indicating the new areas expected to benefit can be viewed here.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock, said: “Nine out of ten homes and businesses in the UK can now get superfast broadband, and we are reaching thousands more every week. I’m delighted that the high take-up rate in Worcestershire means that there is now extra funding that will help us reach another 3,000 more properties across the county.”
Councillor Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Infrastructure, said: “The Superfast Worcestershire partnership has made a huge difference to people and businesses across the county. They are better connected and able to access greater opportunities. Now, the partnership is taking superfast coverage even further than we had originally envisaged. This latest announcement shows the commitment of the partnership to ensuring that Worcestershire is connected. It is great news that more people will be able to benefit from the new communications technology that is often taken for granted by those who already have access to superfast speeds.”
Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for Worcestershire and the West Midlands, said: “Around 248,000 households and businesses across the county can now access superfast fibre broadband as a result of Superfast Worcestershire and private sector investment by companies like BT – and we are determined to go further. BT is committed to making superfast broadband as widely available as possible.
“Whether you’re working from home, doing homework or online shopping, everything is easier and faster with fibre broadband.”
Upgrades do not happen automatically. People wanting to benefit from fibre broadband need to order it from their chosen communications provider. Because the network is being installed by Openreach – BT’s local network business – local households and businesses can choose from a wide range of companies offering competitive fibre broadband products and services.