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New project to connect 98% of Telford to fibre broadband by 2017

Thursday, July 23rd 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A programme rolling out superfast broadband in Telford was officially launched last week.

Superfast Telford is aiming to reach 98% of the borough by the end of 2017, with the towns of Dawley and Oakengates and the village of Great Bolas set to be the first communities to benefit.

The project is a £5.6m partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council, BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

It will make internet speeds of 24Mbps or faster available to 9,300 premises not covered by commercial rollouts of fibre broadband.

Telford & Wrekin Council decided not to take part in the first phase of the BDUK programme because of funding issues, although superfast coverage in the borough was already close to national targets thanks to private investments by BT and Virgin Media, but has now joined in the national programme.

Digital minister Ed Vaizey said: “I am delighted Superfast Telford is joining our nationwide rollout which will deliver superfast access to 95% of the UK by 2017.

“We are now reaching 40,000 more homes and businesses every week and today’s launch is fantastic news for the 9,300 homes and businesses in Telford that will benefit from this £5.6m investment.”

Surveys will start in the autumn with engineering work beginning at the end of the year. Households and businesses should be able to access services on the new network from spring 2016.

'Big step'

The work will be carried out by BT Openreach, so residents will be able to choose from a range of internet service providers.

The launch of Superfast Telford took place at the town’s International Centre, where 80 stakeholders were shown case studies from broadband programmes around the UK.

Telford & Wrekin Council also showcased its Digital Champions network, which aims to help people make the most of ‘going digital’.

Councillor Shaun Davies, cabinet member for customer services, said the launch was a “fantastic opportunity to tell the story of Telford’s journey to delivering superfast broadband and building a fibre network that is future-proofed for generations to come.

“I am delighted by how many attended, representing a whole range of organisations and individuals including local town and parish council representatives and key members of our local business community.

“We’re absolutely committed to improving high speed coverage for our residents and businesses and this is the first big step towards 98% of our borough becoming superfast.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said the programme “marks another important step forward in the development of digital communications across Telford and Wrekin.

“Increasingly the internet is touching our lives in new and exciting ways, which is why we’re keen to roll out this exciting fibre broadband technology as quickly as possible.

“Whether it’s homeworkers or small businesses wanting to share large files and other information with their customers and suppliers or families wanting to connect different devices online at the same time for educational research or leisure pursuits, everything is better, easier and faster with fibre broadband.”

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