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Superfast Worcestershire reaches 50,000 milestone ahead of schedule

Friday, February 12th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

More than 50,000 homes and business can now access fibre broadband as part of the Superfast Worcestershire programme, organisers have announced.

The number, combined with the private sector’s commercial rollout in the area, means fibre broadband is now available to more than 231,000 Worcestershire premises.

Parts of Alcester, Astwood Bank, Chaddersley Corbett, Droitwich, Druids Heath, Hillside, Kings Norton, Leigh Sinton, Pershore, Redditch, Rubery, Strensham and Upton-on-Severn are among the latest communities to benefit from Superfast Worcestershire.

Ken Wigfield, area policy chairman for Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) West Midlands, welcomed the news that the fibre rollout in Worcestershire had hit its 50,000 premises milestone ahead of schedule.

He said: “We firmly believe that access to high speed connectivity can open new opportunities for individual businesses and provide a boost for the area’s economic prosperity.

“The FSB will, however, continue to strive for provision of better connectivity for those so far not embraced by the current rollout and to lobby for a higher minimum speed."

Councillor Ken Pollock, Worcestershire County Council’s cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: "We're incredibly proud of what we have achieved to date through the programme.

“By June 2016, we will have enabled more than 90% of the county to have access to faster fibre broadband.

“This will rise to 95% when we complete our extension programme, which begins later this year.”

'In the blink of an eye'

Steve Henderson, BT’s West Midlands regional director for broadband partnerships, added: “Superfast Worcestershire is a huge engineering programme and the rollout is progressing well.”

He said so far engineers have laid around 500 kilometres of fibre optic cable and installed more than 300 new fibre roadside cabinets to enable local households and businesses to connect to the network.

The 50,000 milestone was marked in Pershore, where residents and businesses met with representatives from Superfast Worcestershire.

Emma Bangham, programme manager at Number 8, a community arts centre in Pershore, said fibre had benefited them in a number of ways, allowing customers to use free wi-fi in the coffee bar and enabling the centre’s projectionist to download trailers “in the blink of an eye”.

“Faster connections for more parts of Pershore can only be a good thing,” she said.

Pershore-based personal trainer and motivational speaker Tracy Reck, who runs Naturally Exuberant, said upgrading to fibre had transformed the way she works and stays in touch with her customers.

She said: “I can’t imagine trying to run my business without fibre broadband.

“A lot of my work is done online using videos. Without fast internet, it would take me a lot longer to write programmes and upload videos.

“I also like to update my website regularly, which is so much easier and quicker now.

“I also use Skype for personal training for people who can’t get to the gym.”

Superfast Worcestershire is a partnership between Worcestershire County Council, BT and the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

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