The £5.6 million Superfast Telford partnership has reached its target of making superfast broadband available to 98 per cent of the borough’s homes and businesses – three per cent higher than the Government’s national target.
The achievement was confirmed today by Telford & Wrekin Council and Openreach, its co-funding network partner for the Superfast Telford roll-out, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.
Around 9000 premises across the borough now have access to superfast broadband download speeds of 24 megabits and above as a result of Superfast Telford, which began connecting the first premises less than 30 months ago.
The percentage of borough premises able to access minimum broadband speeds of at least 15Mbps increases to 99 per cent when combined with additional investment by the private sector, according to a report for Telford & Wrekin’s next Cabinet meeting on May 31.
The Council’s effective management of the project has also helped to drive higher than expected take-up, with 37 per cent of homes and businesses already opting for an upgrade – the third highest in this phase of the BDUK programme. If this is maintained, the projected return for the council will be between £475,000 and £850,000 over the life of the contract.
Councillor Hilda Rhodes, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for broadband, said: “We invested in Superfast Telford to help transform the way people live, work, learn, socialise and do business.
“The benefits include a more harmonious and happy home or business, a better work/life balance, being able to do things quicker, access to entertainment and learning something new.
“Superfast Telford has been a great success story for the borough and I’m delighted we have such positive outcomes from our significant initial investment, which positions us ahead of our neighbouring authorities. In the meantime, we’re working hard to find cost-effective solutions to make the faster broadband available to the premises not already covered.”
Telford resident, Jo Chidlow, a working mum-of-four, said: “We do so much over the internet. With four children who all want to be online at the same time, being able to have superfast fibre broadband has made a huge difference to us all. Our download speeds are 30 times faster than we had before and the connection is much more reliable now.”
Kim Mears, Openreach’s managing director of strategic infrastructure development, said: “Deploying fibre broadband to even more of Telford and Wrekin’s smallest, most remote areas can be very challenging. But due to the successful partnership with Superfast Telford, we’ve now achieved our target of making the technology available to 98 per cent of the borough’s households and businesses, and our engineering teams are close to completing the final upgrades.
“It’s amazing to think just two years ago Britons used less than half the data they do now on their home broadband and this pace shows no signs of slowing. Consumers are doing more and more online and at the same time, from streaming high definition movies and TV, gaming, online shopping to using mobile devises over wireless broadband.
“High-speed broadband also breaks down barriers to doing business across the globe as it helps small businesses to find new markets, sell new products and communicate more easily and quickly with their customers, suppliers and employees.”