Connecting Shropshire reaches first anniversary
Albrighton, Cosford, Halfway House, Minsterley, Pontesbury, Westbury and Yockleton are latest communities to ‘go live’
The multi-million pound Connecting Shropshire partnership rolling out faster fibre broadband across the county continues to gain momentum, partners Shropshire Council and BT confirmed as the ambitious programme celebrates its first anniversary today (March 27).
Around 6,500 homes and businesses are now able to connect to the technology thanks to the Connecting Shropshire partnership. And in the last two weeks Albrighton, Cosford, Halfway House, Minsterley, Pontesbury, Westbury and Yockleton became the latest communities where high-speed fibre broadband has ‘gone live’ for the first time as a result of Connecting Shropshire. Around 3,500 premises in these communities are now able to connect to the new fibre network which will deliver download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*.
The partners also used today’s anniversary to reveal some fascinating facts and figures which further demonstrate the scale of the engineering operation being undertaken.
During the first year since the contract was formally signed engineers working for Openreach, BT’s local network business, have:
- Laid more than 80,000 metres of fibre optic cable;
- Installed more than 180,000 metres of new ducting;
- Sited more than 50 new roadside cabinets;
- Moved more than 120 tonnes of earth;
- And poured around 55 tonnes of concrete, to make faster broadband a reality.
Connecting Shropshire is a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) that will enable more than 62,000 rural homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband.
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council cabinet member for broadband, said: “It’s been a big year and getting things up and running was a huge task, however now we’re underway and things are picking up speed it’s clear we’ve come a long way in a year. The next year for the project – and getting fibre to as many people as we can – is the focus for us now.”
Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Shropshire and the West Midlands, said: “Today marks another major milestone for the partnership. We’ve achieved so much in the first year, but we’re already focused on the work that needs to be done in the year ahead.
“It’s a huge engineering project, but we’re on course to reach the half-way point around this time next year.”
People will continue to be informed about the progress of the programme via the website www.connectingshropshire.co.uk, Shropshire councillors, parish councils and regular updates in the media.
The combined investment from Connecting Shropshire and the private sector’s commercial roll-out plans means 93 per cent of homes and businesses in the Shropshire Council area will have access to faster fibre broadband by the end of Spring 2016.
Shropshire homes and businesses are able to order fibre broadband from a wide range of internet service providers as the network being installed by Openreach is available to all providers on an open, wholesale basis, thereby ensuring competitive prices. To check whether you can access fibre broadband services contact your internet service provider.
Montford Bridge became the first rural community to be connected as part of Connecting Shropshire in December.
*These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.