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Rutland: Smallest county has UK’s highest take-up of fibre broadband

Thursday, August 13th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Rutland has the highest take-up of fibre broadband of any county in the UK, it has been announced.

Figures from Digital Rutland show that fibre is being used by more than four out of 10 homes and businesses across the county.

The 43% take-up figure in Rutland – the UK's smallest historic county and the smallest in terms of population – is higher than any other county in the country and the number is continuing to grow.

The announcement comes as the government announced that more than 3m homes and businesses now have access to superfast broadband, with the national rollout on track to reach 95% of the UK by 2017.

Terry King, deputy leader of Rutland County Council, said: “We’re delighted the local community has backed our broadband project with such passion and enthusiasm.

“Faster broadband was something we knew was important for Rutland.

“Thousands of homes and businesses have seen their online fortunes transformed and the good news is there’s more to come.”

Since the Digital Rutland project was launched three years ago, all 10 telephone exchanges in the county have been upgraded to fibre and 47 new green roadside fibre cabinets have been installed.

In total, more than 5,000 homes and businesses across the county are now using fibre broadband.

Bill Murphy, BT's managing director of next generation access, said: “Digital Rutland is a major success story and a shining example of how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve just about anything."

Rutland and Chicago

He said achieving the best fibre take-up rate in the country was the “end result” of such work, and Rutland should be very proud.

Digital Rutland, a multi-million pound partnership between Rutland County Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), also announced a second phase of work, worth £1.1m, today.

The second phase is expected to get underway in April 2016 and will bring fibre coverage to 94.6% of homes and businesses in the county – another 900 premises.

It is expected to include some of the harder-to-reach areas in Rutland, including Barleythorpe, Bisbrooke, Braunston and Pickworth.

Rutland County Council and BT are also looking at solutions for the remaining properties, aiming to make sure that all Rutland homes and businesses can access speeds of at least 2Mbps.

Eric Thompson, managing director of Crisis Guardian, which is based in Rutland and Chicago, said his company produces films, audio programmes and e-learning training packages for clients such as Barclays, Rolls-Royce and eBay and relies on superfast broadband to transfer work quickly and safely.

He said they previously had to rely on files being delivered on disc by couriers, so superfast broadband had dramatically reduced both time and cost, allowing them to stay in the county rather than having to relocate.

Picture courtesy of Mat Fascione

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