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Shropshire broadband scheme extended after £5m funding boost

Friday, June 5th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

A scheme rolling out superfast broadband in Shropshire is being extended thanks to a £5.6m investment.

The funding boost will give around 4,000 more homes and businesses access to the new fibre network being rolled out by Connecting Shropshire.

Parts of Montford Bridge, Prees and Munslow not already enabled for faster fibre broadband will be among the places to benefit from the new funding.

More details of the other areas to benefit will be announced before the end of the month. The upgrade work will take place during 2017 and 2018.

So far, more than 34,000 premises have been given access to superfast broadband out of the 62,000 planned in the first phase of the Connecting Shropshire rollout, which is expected to finish at the end of 2016.

The new deal injects further funding into the Connecting Shropshire partnership between Shropshire Council, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and BT, with £4.7m coming from BDUK and £900,000 from BT.

Additional funding already available from the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and BDUK will be used to undertake a further procurement exercise by the end of 2015.

'Important milestone'

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said: “This extension to the Connecting Shropshire programme will provide access to faster fibre broadband to more communities.

“Even with the extension covering more premises, we know that there is still work to be done which was expected due to the geographical and network challenges we have in Shropshire.

“We intend to use additional funding already available and the balance of BDUK funds to seek further procurement opportunities to enable more homes and businesses to get superfast broadband.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “Today marks another important milestone in the development of Shropshire.

“Every day the internet is impacting on lives in new and exciting ways, which is why we are working hard to connect as many communities as possible.

“Rolling out fibre broadband in a rural county like Shropshire has its engineering challenges, but our teams have the expertise to ensure the rollout continues smoothly and quickly.”

Shropshire residents can check whether fibre broadband is in their area by entering their postcode on the Connecting Shropshire website.

Anyone wanting to upgrade to superfast broadband should contact their internet service provider as speeds will not increase automatically.

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