Connecting Shropshire

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Timetable of fibre broadband roll-out for next 14 months announced

February 7, 2014 / 110 comments / Permalink

Programme moves up a gear during 2014 as work begins in 25 more areas

Work has begun in the next 25 exchange areas to benefit from the £24.6 million Connecting Shropshire programme. On Friday 7th February, partners Shropshire Council and BT today announced more details about the areas where people will be able to start accessing faster fibre broadband over the next 14 months.

The exchange areas are:

  • Bayston Hill
  • Bomere Heath
  • Broseley
  • Bucknell
  • Chirk
  • Church Stretton
  • Cleehillstone (Clee Hill)
  • Cleobury Mortimer
  • Clun
  • Craven Arms
  • Cross Houses
  • Dorrington
  • Hadnall
  • Hanwood
  • Highley
  • Much Wenlock
  • Pipegate
  • Prees
  • Quatt
  • Queens Head
  • Shawbury
  • Shifnal
  • Tenbury Wells
  • Wem
  • Whixall

The high-speed technology is expected to start going ‘live’ in Bayston Hill, Bomere Heath, Bucknell, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Cross Houses, Dorrington, Hadnall, Hanwood, Much Wenlock and Shawbury from this Summer. The other exchange areas will start to go live later in the year and will be shown as ‘future exchanges’ on the Openreach where-and-when pages, see: http://www.superfast-openreach.co.uk/where-and-when/

After several months of planning and surveying work, engineers will begin putting in the fibre optic cable and new roadside cabinets that are needed for people to get access to the new fibre broadband network.

At the same time fibre broadband will be extended in the parts of Bridgnorth, Ludlow, Market Drayton and Oswestry not already covered by any commercial rollout.

Work to connect the remaining exchange areas in this particular phase will begin in the second half of this year, with the majority completed by the end of Spring 2015. By this time more than 30,000 premises are expected to have been provided with access to fibre broadband, marking the half-way point in the Connecting Shropshire programme.

Connecting Shropshire will continue to keep people informed of the progress of the programme in these and other areas via the website www.connectingshropshire.co.uk, Shropshire councillors, parish councils and regular updates in the media.

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 or very rural homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband.

The combined investment from Connecting Shropshire and the private sector’s commercial roll-out plans will mean 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 will be able to order fibre broadband from a wide range of internet service providers as the network 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.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council Cabinet member responsible for broadband, said: “Following on from recent announcements about communities getting fibre broadband ahead of schedule, and further phase one communities due to get fibre broadband by the spring, we are building confidence in the programme as a whole to bring faster broadband to the current and future generations”.

Mike Cook, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “It’s a huge engineering project that we’re undertaking here in Shropshire, but we’re committed to connecting communities as quickly as possible whilst of course planning carefully to ensure the project delivers the best value for money from the investment.”

“The internet is playing an increasingly important part in all our lives which is why the strong progress being made by Connecting Shropshire is so important.”

Rizvan Khalid, Executive Director of Euro Quality Lambs Ltd based in Craven Arms, said: “Faster fibre broadband gives businesses like ours the ability to use the latest internet-based software to increase both productivity and communications within our business and externally with key suppliers. It can’t come soon enough!”

“Once we have faster broadband we are planning on experimenting with VOIP telephony systems which will help our roaming team stay in touch better, simpler and most importantly, cheaper. Much of our data is backed up online so a faster service means we’re not waiting so much and we can be more productive at our desktops.”

Notes:

Some of these exchange areas cover premises in neighbouring local authorities. Homes and businesses in each local authority area are the responsibility of the respective broadband programmes in Wales, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Telford, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire (Fastershire). Links to these programmes can be found on the following page of the Connecting Shropshire website in the ‘Bordering Counties broadband information’ section: http://connectingshropshire.co.uk/related-external-links/

Chirk exchange is located in Wales, but Connecting Shropshire has the responsibility for providing access to faster fibre broadband for homes and businesses in the Shropshire Council area.

Latest communities to benefit from Connecting Shropshire broadband partnership are announced

January 21, 2014 / 8 comments / Permalink

Fibre broadband coming soon to 18 more Shropshire communities 

The next communities to benefit from the £24.6 million Connecting Shropshire fibre broadband partnership were announced today by Shropshire Council and BT.

Alberbury, Aston on Clun, Boningale, Clungunford, Cosford, Cross Lane Head, Halfway House, Little Brampton, Ploxgreen, Pontesford, Purslow, Quatford, Snailbeach, Stoke St. Milborough, Upton Magna, Westbury, Withington and Yockleton will be the next places to get high-speed broadband as part of the programme. Fibre broadband will be coming soon to these areas with people able to order services from Spring 2014.

Last month Montford Bridge became the first rural community to ‘go live’ as part of Connecting Shropshire. The programme is gathering momentum with roadside fibre broadband cabinets going live each week, including in Harlescott, which was announced earlier this month, with Bicton also now ‘live’. Albrighton, Ford, Minsterley and Pontesbury will follow before the end of March. Residents and businesses in these locations will be able to enjoy broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and uploads of up to 20 Mbps*.

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 or very rural homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband. The combined investment from Connecting Shropshire and BT’s own commercial programme will mean 93 per cent of homes and businesses in the Shropshire Council area will have access to fibre broadband by the end of Spring 2016.

Shropshire households and businesses are able to order fibre broadband from a wide range of internet service providers as the network is open to all providers on an open, wholesale basis, thereby ensuring competitive prices.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council Cabinet member responsible for broadband, said: “It’s great to be able to confirm even more areas as part of the first phase of the programme. For the people and businesses in these rural communities it’ll mean that they will be able to gain access to higher broadband speeds sooner than they thought; in this day and age, it’s becoming ever more important to have fast and reliable broadband to get on in business and in life.”

Mike Cook, BT’s regional director for the West Midlands, said: “The internet is playing an increasingly important part in all our lives which is why the strong progress being made by Connecting Shropshire is so important. Whether it’s small businesses keeping in touch with their customers and suppliers, children doing their homework or playing interactive games online, grandparents staying in touch with their grandchildren, or people working from home. Each of these things is made easier, quicker and better by faster fibre broadband.”

To check whether you can access fibre broadband services contact your internet service provider or go to www.connectingshropshire.co.uk

Note: *These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

 

BUSINESSES IN LINE FOR BOOST FROM CONNECTING SHROPSHIRE

January 15, 2014 / Leave a comment / Permalink

Battlefield Enterprise Park becomes first in the county to start to benefit from £24.6m partnership between Shropshire Council and BT;

 Businesses invited to event to gain insight into benefits of fibre broadband

 The new roadside cabinet provides access to fibre broadband for 172 premises

From the left:

Nick Chavasse (Shropshire Business Board), Ian Binks (BT Regional Manager), Lindsay Booth (BT openreach), Cllr. Steve Charmley (Shropshire Council Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband), Cllr. Vernon Bushell (Shropshire Councillor for Harlescott).

Firms at a business park on the outskirts of Shrewsbury are the latest to reap the benefits of the multi-million pound rollout of high-speed fibre broadband by Connecting Shropshire.

Battlefield Enterprise Park in Harlescott has become the first business park in the county to start benefitting from the partnership between Shropshire Council and BT.

Tuesday 14th January 2014,  saw the ‘switch on’ of four new fibre broadband roadside cabinets in the Harlescott area, with others to follow serving in total around 3,500 homes and businesses in the Harlescott area.

Engineers will complete the upgrade works that will serve most businesses on the Battlefield Enterprise Park over the coming weeks.

When an area has ‘gone live’, businesses and residents can order fibre broadband from a wide range of internet service providers as the network is open to all providers on an open, wholesale basis, thereby ensuring competitive prices. They will be able to enjoy download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*.

To coincide with this latest development, Connecting Shropshire has organised a free drop-in session specifically tailored towards helping local businesses wanting to know more about how they might benefit from the new technology.

It’s being held at Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre in Vanguard Way, Battlefield Enterprise Park, SY1 3TG, on Wednesday, January 29, from 12 noon until 6.30pm, with advisors from Connecting Shropshire and the Council’s Business and Enterprise team on hand throughout. Any local business is welcome to attend.

More information about the roll-out of fibre broadband is available from the Connecting Shropshire website: www.connectingshropshire.co.uk

Connecting Shropshire is a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) that will enable more than 62,000 homes and businesses in Shropshire (excluding Telford and Wrekin) to access faster broadband by the end of Spring 2016.

It builds on BT’s own commercial rollout which will bring fibre broadband to more than 123,000 homes and businesses across the county by the end of Spring 2014. The combined investment programmes will mean 93 per cent of homes and businesses in the Shropshire Council area will have access to fibre broadband by the end of Spring 2016.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, said: “I’m really happy to see the first roadside cabinet to provide fibre based broadband to a business park. Connecting Shropshire is starting to provide access to fibre broadband in a number of communities which would not have benefitted without the intervention of the Council. I’m especially keen to see local businesses embrace faster broadband to boost their productivity and long-term sustainability”.

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Shropshire and the West Midlands, said: “Increasingly we’re seeing how the internet is impacting on almost every aspect of our lives. That’s why the availability of faster fibre broadband is so important.

“High-speed broadband enables everyone to do things faster and more effectively, recent research demonstrates that up to six out of 10 small businesses can grow faster as a result of better connectivity while 83 per cent can save time and money. Evidence also shows that jobs can be safeguarded and created with a high speed broadband connection.”

Nick Chavasse MBE, Shropshire Business Board champion for broadband, added: “It’s good news for the local economy that Connecting Shropshire is starting to provide access to fibre based broadband for businesses in the Harlescott area of Shrewsbury. Battlefield Industrial Estate and Enterprise Park is the largest concentration of businesses in the Shropshire Council area. Fast and reliable broadband connectivity helps businesses to work smarter in a number of ways, including communicating better and exploiting new market opportunities”.

Note: *These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

MONTFORD BRIDGE CELEBRATES ‘SUPER SWITCH ON DAY’ AS FIBRE BROADBAND GOES LIVE

December 18, 2013 / 2 comments / Permalink

Fibre based broadband has arrived in Montford Bridge, Connecting Shropshire announced today.

More than 160 homes and businesses in Montford Bridge will have access to the new fibre enabled network as the first roadside cabinet to be funded by the programme is ‘switched on’ by Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council portfolio holder responsible for broadband, and Steve Henderson, BT’s general manager for the West Midlands.

The switch on is part of a national initiative, which sees green fibre broadband cabinets in many parts of the country ‘going live’ simultaneously today. “Super Switch On Day” marks the progress of superfast broadband partnerships with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – the government agency providing £780 million in public funding to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.

Montford Bridge is just one of a number of towns and villages up and down the country that today join the 200,000 premises in mostly rural locations around the UK that are already enjoying access to faster fibre broadband speeds as a result of the BDUK programme. The national rollout is accelerating, with many projects already ahead of schedule; the work in Montford Bridge is two months ahead of target. Already 10,000 premises per week are gaining access to superfast broadband nationally, and this will increase to 25,000 per week in spring 2014, increasing to 40,000 per week by summer 2014.

Connecting Shropshire, a partnership between Shropshire Council and BT, builds on BT’s own commercial roll-out of fibre broadband so that 93 per cent of homes and businesses in the Council area will have access to fibre broadband by the end of spring 2016.

The arrival of fibre broadband in Montford Bridge was welcomed by the Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, who said: “The roll-out of superfast broadband has the potential to transform rural areas, bridging the age-old gap between rural and urban. It will allow businesses to grow and expand and communities to access services in a way that they’ve not been able to before.

“It will be a massive benefit to everyone who lives in this area, and I look forward to seeing many more of these projects get off the ground.”

Steve Charmley said: “This is an important step forward. Whether you are a local businessperson wishing to build your company, a student carrying out research or a householder making use of on-line shopping and entertainment, access to high-speed internet has never been more important.  In today’s rapidly moving world, fast and sophisticated communications are absolutely vital. They are an essential part of future success.”

Montford Bridge will be joined by more than 6,000 homes and businesses in Albrighton, Harlescott, Minsterley and Pontesbury that will have access to high speed fibre broadband in the next three months as a result of the multi-million Connecting Shropshire programme.  Once an area is enabled, people should check with their internet service provider (ISP) regarding fibre broadband availability, cost and speed.

BT’s investment of £8.6 million in Connecting Shropshire bolsters the public sector investment, which includes £8.2 million from Shropshire Council and £7.8 million Government funding from BDUK.

Steve Henderson added: “All over the country fibre broadband is changing people’s lives. It provides a digital gateway to a wealth of opportunities whether it is supporting how we work, how we learn, how we communicate with friends and family, or how we entertain ourselves.

“Access to high-speed broadband is rapidly becoming a key ingredient for economic growth and is also a major determining factor in where businesses decide to locate.

“Fibre broadband opens up a whole raft of leading edge software applications that could benefit business – allowing them to work more efficiently, for people to work when and where they want to, to expand their business offerings and to connect with customers, not just locally but all over the world.”

Openreach, BT’s local network business, is primarily deploying fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the exchange to a local roadside cabinet. In addition to download speeds of up to 80Mbps, FTTC also delivers upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 — and could deliver even faster speeds in the future.

Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand2 in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps1.

Fibre broadband at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether it’s downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. Fibre improves the quality of online experiences and supports exciting new developments in internet services.

The benefits are also considerable for businesses, which can do much more in far less time. Firms can speed up file and data transfers, collaborate with colleagues and customers on conference or video calls or swap their hardware and expensive software licenses for files, processing power and software from cloud computing. Staff can work as effectively from home as they would in the office.

Openreach engineers will install the fibre network which will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis.  Households and businesses will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices.

Notes:

1 These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

2 Openreach will levy an installation charge for FTTP on demand. It will be up to service providers to decide whether they pass that on to businesses or consumers wishing to use the product.

Please note due to the current network topography, and the economics of deployment, it is likely that some premises within selected exchange areas will not initially be able to access fibre-based broadband. Openreach is considering alternative solutions for these locations.

Update – November 2013

November 15, 2013 / 2 comments / Permalink

First communities announced

We’ve just announced that from early 2014, fibre based broadband, with many premises receiving speeds of more than 24 megabits per second (mbps), will start to become available to homes and businesses in Montford Bridge, Montford, Bicton, Ford, Shrawardine, Pontesbury and Minsterley. This is really exciting news for these communities who will be the first to benefit from the programme. In total, around 6,000 premises will get access to fibre based broadband during phase one of the programme, which will also cover the village of Albrighton (between Telford and Wolverhampton) and Harlescott in Shrewsbury.

In January, once remaining survey work has been completed, we’ll be able to tell you which other rural communities will benefit from the first phase of the roll-out. In addition, we plan to give more details of exchanges due to get access to fibre during 2014.

Engineering work has begun

In addition to planning and surveying work, engineers from BT openreach have been working to extend the fibre spine infrastructure that connects local telephone exchanges into BT’s core network. Here is a picture of Steve Charmley (left of picture), Shropshire Council Cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, meeting openreach engineers out on site to review their progress.

Cllr. Steve Charmley and BT openreach

Projected deployment map

Version 2 of the map showing the projected deployment of better broadband in the Connecting Shropshire programme has now been published. If you know someone who doesn’t have access to the internet who’d like to be sent a hard copy of the map, please ask them to contact the programme team (details at the bottom of the next page).

As previously, we do stress that the map is at a high level and is not accurate to premise or postcode level. As physical inspections of ducts and cabinets are undertaken, our projections will change and we’ll update the map accordingly.

Projected deployment map

The map now provides further information about the 7% of premises in the seeking additional funding areas. These are now marked as light green and yellow areas. Please note that we are still seeking additional funding for premises in these areas:

  • Premises in the yellow areas (2% of the total) are currently projected to get access to speeds of less than 2mbps. As part of the programme, we’re committed to providing all premises in these areas with access to a network that will provide speeds of at least 2mbps by the end of Spring 2016. We’re also seeking additional funding to provide premises in these areas with access to fibre based broadband.
  • Premises in the light green areas (5% of the total) already have access to at least 2mbps and we’re seeking additional funding to provide access to fibre based broadband.

Getting out and about

As a team, we’re often out-and-about across the Shropshire Council area explaining more about the programme and the benefits of fibre based broadband for businesses and communities. If you know of a local group or event that you think we should be attending, please let us know and we’ll arrange a visit.

For further information please check the website or get in touch:

Website:      www.connectingshropshire.co.uk

Email:          connecting.shropshire@shropshire.gov.uk

Phone:         01743 252203

Twitter:       https://twitter.com/connectingshrop

Facebook:    search for ‘Connecting Shropshire’ or click here

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