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New fibre broadband connection secures business’s county location

A small business located in rural southern Staffordshire says it is committed to staying in the county after being able to connect to recently installed superfast fibre broadband.

The fibre connection to the offices of creative digital agency Digital by Default has been made possible by the Superfast Staffordshire programme – a partnership between the county council, BT and the Government’s Broadband UK (BDUK) programme.

Digital by Default’s Dom McGrail said without access to fibre broadband, which was installed in February this year, the company faced a move to central Birmingham. Now, Dom and his colleagues can remain in their preferred location – an idyllic canal-side setting at Fradley Junction near Lichfield.

Dom previously had satellite broadband, but its high monthly cost and restricted usage meant that unless an alternative could be found, the company would need to relocate. The business also now has the ability to use voice over internet protocol (VOIP), meaning it has cut out phone costs.

Dom said:

The ability to connect to superfast fibre broadband came at absolutely the right time for us – we were on the verge of seriously having to consider a move out of the county. Connection to superfast fibre broadband has cut our monthly costs by over a half, increased our broadband download and upload speeds and also means we now have no call costs. Fibre broadband means we can run the business more effectively – managing sales, downloading the software we need and developing, maintaining and monitoring websites more easily and quickly .
“We have been here for eleven years now and have emotional ties to the location. It’s a great place to work and by staying here we are keeping these jobs in Staffordshire. Superfast fibre broadband is an important business tool now and a cost-effective solution for small businesses like ours. I’d certainly urge rural businesses to check if they’re in an area where superfast fibre broadband is available – or coming soon.”

Digital by Default’s customers are spread over a range of sectors and include Palletways and Extra Personnel.

The Superfast Staffordshire programme is funded by a £7.4million investment by the county council, £7.4million from BDUK and £12.5million from BT. When combined with commercial roll-out, it will result in 96 per cent of Staffordshire properties being able to connect to fast fibre broadband. The partnership is working continually to find solutions to enable the final four per cent to connect.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader Mark Winnington said:

The Superfast Staffordshire programme is delivering for thousands of residents and businesses across the county. We can see with a business like Digital by Default what a difference it can make and has literally secured its position in Staffordshire. “Having innovative enterprise in Staffordshire is crucial to our ongoing economic growth, attracting better skilled, better paid jobs. Superfast broadband is essential to business operation and future expansion and it demonstrates why our decision to invest in this project was so important. We are also doing all we can to find solutions to enable the final four per cent of properties to connect. Three years on from the start of the roll-out we are seeing the results of a successful partnership between ourselves, BT and BDUK.”

Minister of State for Digital, Matt Hancock, said:

Our roll-out of superfast broadband in Staffordshire has been a great success so far, and we’ve helped make a high-speed connection available to 96,000 local homes and businesses. We want as many people as possible to benefit from the nationwide superfast roll-out, and I’m delighted another 1,300 premises have now been added to the Superfast Staffordshire programme.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, said:

It’s great that we’re able to make this important technology available to even more people thanks to savings made by our project teams during earlier parts of the programme and through re-using existing infrastructure. To hear that Digital by Default have been able to stay in Staffordshire is great news, retaining existing skills and creating new opportunities to bolster the credentials of the Creative County.  At the same time, we’re continuing to work with the county council to find ways to bring high-speed fibre broadband to the three per cent of Staffordshire premises not yet earmarked for any upgrades, through co-funded community projects and other innovative solutions.”