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Shropshire superfast broadband project reaches 30,000 premises

Thursday, April 30th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

More than 30,000 premises in Shropshire now have access to superfast broadband.

In an update on its website, Connecting Shropshire said 174 new roadside cabinets have been installed in the county since the first in December 2013 and they are live in 43 exchange areas, putting more than 30,000 premises within reach of the new fibre network.

Connecting Shropshire is the project to bring fibre broadband to areas of the county where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to reach.

Shropshire Council and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) are jointly investing around £17.4 million of public money to improve broadband network services across Shropshire. The funding is to “fill the gap” where it is currently uneconomic for broadband services to be provided by the private sector.

The government has committed to delivering superfast broadband – speeds of 24Mbps or faster – to 95% of the UK by December 2017.

One Shropshire business that recently upgraded to fibre broadband is Hobsons Brewery in Cleobury Mortimer.

Commercial director Reuben Crouch said the biggest difference they had noticed was the speed of uploading data.

“We’re seeing speeds pushing 40Mbps now on the downloads, but the upload speed has been really dramatic – it’s gone up from 0.5 to about 8Mbps, which has been a revelation.

'Slowing us down'

“The issues weren’t stopping us working – but what they were doing was really slowing us down.

“For example, the way we did our accounts was that we’d upload the data to a secure server for the accountants to then download.

“But the upload was mind-numbingly slow and it would tie up the computer for the entire day and slow up the other computers on the network as well. So the quicker that job can be done the better.”

He said they are moving to a cloud-based storage database, with superfast broadband making the upload of information almost instantaneous, whereas before it was constantly lagging.

He added: “If we didn’t have the fibre broadband we’d have had two options: we would’ve either had to employ additional labour in order to achieve all the things we wanted to achieve, or we would’ve had to make sacrifices on goals.

“It’s like everything else, you prioritise what needs doing – so our priorities would get done, but the other things that are really pushing us now probably wouldn’t.”

People in Shropshire can find out if they have access to fibre broadband and get up-to-date information about the status of their exchange area using Connecting Shropshire’s website.

To connect to fibre broadband, people need to contact their chosen internet service provider (ISP) to upgrade their broadband package.

Not all premises in an exchange area will get access to fibre broadband and not all premises served by a fibre cabinet will necessarily get access to faster broadband.

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