ST JOHN’S and St Peter’s will be some of the first communities to benefit from a roll-out of superfast broadband.
Homeowners in the two areas along with villagers in Hallow will soon be able to get a high-speed fibre broadband service as part of a £20million programme being led by Worcestershire County Council and BT.
The scheme, which involves more than 700km of fibre optic cable being laid throughout the county, will also mean more businesses in some areas of the city centre not currently covered by fibre technology will be able to access it.
The Superfast Worcestershire partnership aims to ensure high-speed broadband is made available to more than 90 per cent of Worcestershire businesses and homes over the next three years and the first phase, which will include St John’s and St Peter’s, is set to be put in place between April and the end of September.
So far Worcestershire County Council has invested up to £8.5 million in the scheme while BT put in £8.9 million. Another £3.35 million is being invested by the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) arm of Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
Councillor Simon, Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, said it was great news for the county.
“Superfast broadband is vital for the future success and competitiveness of our businesses and will boost our residents’ experience online – helping them to do more and more via the internet,” he said.
“For local businesses, the fibre network will help underpin the introduction of many new services and applications and will increase their opportunities for economic growth, a vital component to keep the county open for business.
“We believe Superfast Worcestershire is the only programme of its kind in the UK to put an emphasis on reaching at least 90 per cent of the county’s business premises.
“Local people will be able to use the new website to get updates on where high-speed broadband is available so they can upgrade to the faster network with their internet providers.”
People in Worcestershire will be able to order an upgrade for their broadband connection from a wide range of internet service providers as the network is open to all providers on an open, wholesale basis, ensuring competitive prices.
A new Superfast Worcestershire website has also been launched at www.superfastworcestershire.com.
Bill Murphy, BT Group’s managing director of next generation access, said:
“Since the Superfast Worcestershire partnership was launched last summer, teams have been busy planning and building the new network that will transform the way people across the county communicate, work, learn and enjoy their spare time.
“It’s a huge engineering project that will involve the laying of more than 700 kilometres of fibre optic cable across the county – equivalent to travelling from Bromsgrove to Brussels and back again.
“We’re committed to connecting communities as quickly as possible whilst of course planning carefully to ensure we get the best value for money from the investment. Today marks a major milestone for the partnership and the first communities to benefit. We look forward to announcing where the network will be going next when more surveys have been completed.”