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Connecting Shropshire and developer to fund fibre upgrade for new-builds

Thursday, June 16th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A new housing development near Oswestry is to get fibre broadband after the developer and Connecting Shropshire agreed to co-fund the rollout.

Residents of the Wat’s Meadow estate, in Gobowen, have been struggling with speeds of 2Mbps despite most of the village having access to fibre services.

But the deal between Connecting Shropshire – a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and the national BDUK programme – and Fletcher Homes will see the first households able to place orders before the end of 2017.

Connecting Shropshire has already taken fibre broadband to around 50,000 homes and businesses in the county, and is aiming to take that figure to 62,000 by the end of the year.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member responsible for broadband, said: “I’m all in favour of working collaboratively with other stakeholders to bring fibre broadband to those parts of Shropshire not in our rollout plan.

“I’m pushing for the process to be expedited so that access to faster broadband can be provided to Wat’s Meadow as soon as possible.”

North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson said: “I have been pressing for a solution to this issue of poor broadband for residents of Wat’s Meadow since first being contacted by one of my constituents in October last year.

“I am pleased to see that our efforts have been rewarded and I will continue to lobby for better superfast broadband and mobile phone coverage in North Shropshire.”

'Collaborative approach'

Jonathan Westwood, the managing director of Fletcher Homes, said: “Customer satisfaction is the key driver in all that we do, so I’m glad that we’ve been able to find a solution to this issue, which homeowners have spoken to us about.

“Knowing how important access to high-speed broadband is in the 21st century, I’m pleased to say that our new developments in Ellesmere and Cross Houses will have access to fibre broadband.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Shropshire and the West Midlands, said: “We’re committed to finding solutions for those communities not yet covered by any partnership or commercial rollout by the private sector.

“This collaborative approach with Fletcher Homes is a great example of what can be achieved.

“As a result, households at Wat’s Meadow will be able to access broadband download speeds that are around 25 times faster than they are able to get at the moment.”

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