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Superfast broadband arrives in the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution

Tuesday, May 17th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

The birthplace of the Industrial Revolution is stepping into the superfast era with the arrival of fibre broadband nine months earlier than expected.

Around 500 homes and businesses in Ironbridge, Shropshire, are getting access to fibre from the summer as part of the £5.6m Superfast Telford partnership, with more to follow in the months after.

The project, led by Telford & Wrekin Council and BT, is part of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

It began connecting the first homes and businesses just before Christmas and now 1,200 properties are able to access fibre broadband.

By the end of 2017, this will rise to around 9,300 households and businesses, with 8,800 of them able to access ‘superfast’ download speeds of 24Mbps and above.

Combined with the private sector’s commercial rollout, it means 98% of homes and businesses in the borough will be able to access fibre by the end of next year.

Project bosses said the arrival of fibre in Ironbridge earlier than expected will bring a boost for tourism as well as the local community.

Councillor Shaun Davies, cabinet member for neighbourhood services at Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “Making faster fibre broadband available to around 950 households and businesses in Ironbridge has always been a key aim of the partnership.

“Close collaboration with other important projects going on in this sensitive area of the borough, including the upgrading of The Wharfage and Tontine Hill, has enabled us to complete the necessary planning and survey work much earlier than planned and accelerate this part of the Superfast Telford rollout.”

'Start enjoying the benefits'

Colin Bannon, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, added: “Our project teams are working extremely hard to ensure the majority of the engineering work is completed as quickly as possible so many people wanting to order an upgrade can start enjoying the benefits before the main holiday season gets in full swing.

“We also wanted to minimise disruption and maximise opportunities for local businesses, households and visitors at this busy time of the year.”

People opting for an upgrade will be able to order fibre broadband with download speeds up to 80Mbps.

The network is being installed by Openreach, but customers will be able to choose from a range of service providers.

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