The Superfast Staffordshire broadband partnership has announced a major £5.1 million expansion that will enable around 6,200 households and businesses in some of the county’s smallest communities to access the information superhighway for the first time.
Around 40 additional communities have been earmarked for upgrades as part of the multi-million pound roll-out, lead partners Staffordshire County Council and BT announced today.
They include Rudyard, Cauldon, Alsagers Bank, Baldwin’s Gate, Heritage Park in north Staffordshire, as well as Moddershall, Tixall and Brocton near Stafford. Also set to benefit are Church Leigh, Lower Leigh and Coton-in-the-Clay in East Staffordshire. Other areas include Halfpenny Green, Gospel Ash, Codsall Wood in South Staffordshire, Prospect Village in Cannock Chase district, Chorley, Springhill and Wall near Lichfield, and Wigginton near Tamworth.
The upgrade work will take place during 2017 and the first half of 2018. It is being funded partly by savings made from earlier phases of the roll-out programme, with additional investment coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and BT. This has been triggered by higher than expected take-up of fibre broadband, with more than 30 per cent of county households and premises that are able to upgrade to the new technology choosing to do so.
Once this latest phase is completed, the percentage of county premises able to access superfast fibre broadband will rise to 96 per cent. Meanwhile, the Superfast Staffordshire partnership said it is working hard to find solutions for communities that are not currently earmarked for any upgrade.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, said:
The Superfast Staffordshire programme has made a huge difference to people and businesses across the county in 2016. They are better connected and able to access greater opportunities. As we head into 2017, these expansion plans are great news for some of our most rural communities.
“However, we recognise there is still more work to be done to enable the final four per cent of premises to benefit. That’s why we have launched a funding support programme to compliment the BT Community Fibre Partnership scheme. This allows Superfast Staffordshire to co-invest along with communities that are seeking to undertake a co-funded project. We want to hear from communities who are interested in following in the footsteps of Cotwalton – the first to pilot this approach with us.”
Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, said:
Around 472,000 households and businesses across the county can now access superfast fibre broadband as a result of Superfast Staffordshire and additional private sector investment by companies like BT.
“Whether you’re working from home, doing homework or online shopping, everything is easier and faster with fibre broadband.”
People can follow the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out and find out more about how they could benefit from high speed fibre broadband via the website: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk