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Northampton enterprise zone gets fibre broadband three months early

Monday, September 21st 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

Businesses in the UK’s largest urban enterprise zone are feeling the benefits of superfast broadband three months earlier than planned.

The Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone – home to global brands Carlsberg and Cosworth as well as a host of small businesses – is the latest area to be connected by the Superfast Northamptonshire project.

When work being carried out by BT Openreach is completed later this year, more than 180 premises across 20 sites will have access to speeds up to 80Mbps.

The network uses fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) technology, with the final connections to each property made by BT’s existing copper wires.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet member for strategic infrastructure and economic growth, said: “Providing superfast broadband to the enterprise zone is of strategic importance for the county’s economy.

“This new infrastructure will help to retain businesses here, support their growth and be a real boost to attract further inward investment to the area.

“Fast broadband is crucial for businesses across Northamptonshire and our local economy.

“More than 6,000 local companies which otherwise wouldn’t be served are set to benefit from broadband plans now in place through the Superfast Northamptonshire project.”

Urban enterprise zones are areas where commercial and industrial businesses can receive incentives to set up or expand in a bid to encourage economic growth and development.

The Northampton Waterside zone is the UK's largest urban enterprise zone and is soon to be home to the University of Northampton, which is making a £330m move to the zone’s eastern section.

While there are areas of the enterprise zone where superfast plans have yet to be finalised, some companies have already taken advantage of the new connections, such as Shiny Studio Ltd.

'Immediate advantage'

“We set up Shiny Studio to support businesses and charities deliver their products and services to their audience in new and innovative ways through film, narrative and interactive experience,” said producer Steve Mowbray.

“Communicating and sharing large files with multiple parties on a global level is a fundamental part of what we do.

“The internet plays an integral role in allowing us to do this. As soon as the upgrade to fibre broadband was available we took immediate advantage.

“Already we are finding that productivity and customer experience has improved dramatically, allowing us to make sure our partners are receiving the best service that we can deliver.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, said: “It is vital that businesses are able to take advantage of the great opportunities offered by the new fibre network and we have worked closely with our partners to make this happen.

“I’m sure many of the businesses in Northampton Enterprise Zone are delighted they will be able to order a fibre broadband package so they can realise the benefits that the faster speed fibre technology brings.”

More than 50,000 homes and businesses across the county can now access superfast fibre broadband speeds above 24Mbps thanks to the Superfast Northamptonshire project.

By December 2017 this will have risen to over 73,850 premises, made possible by the multi-million pound investment by the county council, government, local partners and BT.

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