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Worcestershire superfast broadband project celebrates 'incredible progress'

Tuesday, August 18th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Bosses of the superfast broadband rollout in Worcestershire are celebrating better-than-expected results, both in the rollout itself and the take-up it has seen.

The Superfast Worcestershire programme has reached the milestone of making fibre broadband available to more than 35,000 homes and businesses in the county, meaning it is ahead of schedule.

Added to this, more than 17% of households and businesses have already taken up the high-speed technology, which is also ahead of expectations.

Worcestershire County Council is now getting an extra £3m to invest in the project – £0.9m from savings made during the deployment, and £2.1m made available as a result of a ‘gain share’ clause in the contract with BT.

Cable.co.uk has previously reported that BT is making £129m available to local authorities to reinvest in superfast broadband projects as part of the clause, which says if take-up is better than BT’s original business case of 20%, funding it has received should be reinvested.

Cllr Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council cabinet member for economy, skills & infrastructure, said: “It is very pleasing to see that the government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme and BT have recognised the success of the programme in Worcestershire.

“It is important that we continue to focus on stimulating demand for the service and ensuring residents and businesses are aware they need to 'sign-up' when fibre reaches their area in order to benefit from improved speeds.

'Success story'

“The investment of a further £3m could mean that we can now look to reach even more premises and roll out faster broadband more quickly.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director, added: “The fibre broadband rollout is a real success story, and we’re delighted to be able to share that success with Worcestershire County Council by making funding available to help connect some of the hardest to reach homes and businesses.

“The open network which is being rolled out by BT’s local network business Openreach offers real choice to communities and this is helping to drive take-up which is key to the programme’s future.”

The milestone for Worcestershire came as the government announced the nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now passed more than 3m UK premises and is on track to reach 95% of the UK by 2017.

Digital minister Ed Vaizey said: “We are transforming the digital landscape of the UK and our nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached an additional 3m UK homes and businesses.

“I congratulate Superfast Worcestershire on having reached more than 35,000 premises so far – they’re making incredible progress.”

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