Residents and businesses have received a major boost with the news that engineering work is now well under way on the £5.6m programme to rollout superfast broadband across Telford and Wrekin.
Lead partners Telford & Wrekin Council and BT announced today that engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – are now laying fibre optic broadband cables and installing new road-side cabinets in parts of Dawley following months of surveys and planning work.
As a result, the first residents and businesses in Dawley will be able to start upgrading from this winter, with Oakengates and Great Bolas to follow in Spring next year.
The Superfast Telford rollout of faster fibre broadband will enable more than 9,300 additional residents and businesses across the area to access the technology by the end of 2017. It builds on BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre in the Dawley area, which has already made the high-speed technology available to more than 5,000 homes and businesses.
Over the lifetime of the Superfast Telford project 430km of fibre cabling will be laid – enough to go round the Wrekin 86 times.
It means that 98 per cent of homes and businesses in the borough will be able to access superfast broadband when the project’s roll-out is combined with the private sector’s commercial programmes.
The new Openreach network will be "open" so people opting for an upgrade will be able to choose from a wide range of broadband service providers, of which more than 140 are currently operating in the UK
Local people will be able to follow the roll-out and get all the latest information via www.superfast-telford.co.ukincluding a ‘where and when’ map and a postcode checker, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
Telford & Wrekin Council will continue to work to find solutions for those remaining two per cent of homes and businesses that are not currently included in the roll-out.
Councillor Shaun Davies, Telford & Wrekin Council’s cabinet member for Business, Neighbourhood and Customer Services, said: "I am delighted that engineering work has started on our fibre broadband programme. We have ensured that we got the best value for money for our residents and the best deal for Telford.
"This will support local businesses to more easily and efficiently connect with customers while coping with ever changing business needs as they develop and grow.
"It’s also becoming more and more important for our local residents to access faster speeds as being online becomes a regular part of modern family life.
"Superfast broadband not only makes uploading and downloading quicker but means that everyone in a family can do what they want all at the same time – enabling people to strike a healthy balance between work and play.
"It is also vital to have speedy access as more and more services from the council and other organisations develop online facilities for customers to use."
Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said:
"Today marks another very important stage in the rollout of an exciting technology, which is transforming the lives of communities across the UK.
Compared to other projects across the country, Superfast Telford’s implementation is small in terms of number of premises, but it delivers one of the highest levels of fibre coverage seen to date."