Connecting Shropshire

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Plans to provide fibre broadband to 13 new exchange areas announced

September 15, 2014 / Leave a comment / Permalink

New exchange area map outlines programme’s plans up until December 2015.

Thirteen more exchange areas will get high-speed fibre broadband before the end of next year as part of the multi-million pound Connecting Shropshire programme.

RAF Museum, Cosford

Openreach engineer, Danielle Baugh, surveying outside the RAF Museum in Cosford as part of the Connecting Shropshire programme.

The partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK, aims to make the sophisticated technology available to around 7,500 homes and businesses in: Bishops Castle, Bromfield, Calverhall, Cressage, Ditton Priors, Dudleston Heath, Ellesmere, Hodnet, Knockin, Munslow, Norton, Seifton and Worfield.

Today also saw the launch of a new online map and easy-to-use line checker on the Connecting Shropshire website, designed to make it even easier for people to find out the availability of fibre broadband in their area.

It can be accessed through the Connecting Shropshire website at: www.connectingshropshire.co.uk/when-and-where/

The map allows local people to get up-to-date information about the status of their exchange area within the programme. The line checker enables people to enter their postcode or telephone number to find out their exchange area, whether or not fibre broadband is available and estimated dates when it will be available to them.

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council Cabinet member responsible for broadband, said:

“We’re working towards connecting as many Salopians to fibre broadband as we can and the next stages of the plan are now confirmed. So far over 19,000 homes and businesses across 25 exchange areas have seen fibre broadband become available to them through the programme and as we continue to build, even more will be connected.

“The map and line checker are important resources that allow people to see where they fit into the programme and whether they are in an area where faster fibre broadband is already available.”

Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for broadband partnerships, said:

“This is an exciting time for Shropshire. The Connecting Shropshire partnership is spreading its wings and our teams are working hard to bring high-speed fibre broadband to as many communities as possible, as quickly as possible, including some of the most remote areas of the county.

“Fast and reliable internet is becoming crucial to daily life for residents in Shropshire. Fibre broadband will provide an equal opportunity to access essential online activities, such as council services, healthcare and other public services, as well as offering new leisure and educational opportunities.”

Connecting Shropshire builds on the commercial roll-out of fibre broadband by the private sector, which has already made the high-speed technology available to more than 111,000 Shropshire premises.

Women and broadband project

September 9, 2014 / 4 comments / Permalink

£75,000 has been made available to Shropshire Council after Connecting Shropshire made a successful bid for funding from Broadband Delivery UK and the Government Equalities
Office.

The grant is to run a Women and Broadband project in the Shropshire Council area until March 2015 and will cover all the costs of the project. Women in Rural Enterprise (WiRE), based at Harper Adams University, has been appointed to run the project.

Tina Woodward, Shropshire Council Deputy Cabinet member for broadband, said:

“I am pleased that the bid has been successful as the project aims to enable
and to assist women to take advantage of the faster broadband networks we are
building to grow and improve their business or even start-up a new business. We
have great partners to deliver the service with experience in the field. WiRE
is performing a similar role in Staffordshire and we’ll be working with them
where practical to gain economies of scale.”

The project will support women in business, with a programme of conferences, workshops and mentoring for women-led businesses and potential female entrepreneurs across the Shropshire Council area.

The first event is on 18th September, please follow this link http://www.wirechallenge.org/ to find out more and to book a place.

Free events for businesses

August 15, 2014 / Leave a comment / Permalink

 

 

 

 

 

Optimising Business Broadband events will allow you to discover how your business can benefit from adopting fibre-based broadband. Learn how, by embracing digital technologies, you can increase your business’s competitiveness and performance by opening up new markets and creating more efficient ways of working.

The first Shropshire event is on 29th August in Shrewsbury.

Click here to view our schedule of events and for booking details.

This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund

Connecting Shropshire connects Pontesbury exchange area to fibre broadband

August 12, 2014 / Leave a comment / Permalink

More than 2,300 homes and businesses in Pontesbury, Minsterley and Snailbeach now have access to fibre broadband

Daniel Kawczynski MP meets Robert Pither, the Broadplace Coordinator, in Pontesbury

The roll-out of fibre based broadband across Shropshire passed another milestone this week as the final cabinet in Pontesbury exchange area was connected to the new faster fibre optic network.

11 fibre broadband cabinets, serving 2,300 premises in communities including Minsterley, Snailbeach and Pontesbury itself, are now “live”. Customers served by them can place an order for fibre broadband with an internet service provider of their choice.

Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, who visited the community, said:
“This is great news for the Pontesbury area, and represents new opportunities for businesses and residents alike. Government recognises that there is still more to do and I will continue to lobby for an expansion of this important programme.”

Current national plans will ensure superfast speeds for 90% of the UK by 2015, but Government believes that its transformation of the digital landscape should reach every area of the UK.

Daniel continued:
“Focus is now on those harder to reach areas, which we have a number of in Shropshire. A series of pilot projects are currently under way nationally and we want to see these replicated in Shropshire to investigate the best way of bringing better broadband to all.”

The engineering work in Pontesbury is the latest development by Connecting Shropshire, a partnership between Shropshire Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) that will enable more than 62,000 homes and businesses in Shropshire to access faster broadband by the end of spring 2016.

The Pontesbury announcement came as the Government announced that more than 1 million UK homes and businesses now have access to superfast broadband as a result of the UK-wide rollout. The rate at which superfast technology is being rolled out under the Government programme is rapidly accelerating. Up  to 40,000 premises are now gaining access every week and the programme will extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said:
“The Connecting Shropshire programme is making strong progress, bringing high-speed fibre broadband to some of the most challenging areas. The programme shows the power of the public and private sectors working together. BT has brought technical expertise to the table as well as millions of pounds of investment and, if we can go further, we will do so. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses whether they are using it to work more efficiently and find new customers or for online learning and leisure.”

Connecting Shropshire is currently in Stage Three of a nine phase programme that will provide 93 per cent of premises with access to the faster fibre network by the end of spring 2016 with all premises in the programme area getting at least a basic level of broadband. It builds on BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband which has already made the technology available to around 54,000 premises across Shropshire (excluding Telford & Wrekin).

 

Artistic Shropshire pupil with designs on faster broadband is honoured by Connecting Shropshire

June 27, 2014 / 8 comments / Permalink
Bicton School pupils

The competition winner & runners-up gather to see the design placed on the new fibre cabinet. L-R: Natalie Johnson, Dan Czyzyk, Imogen Jones, Kate Dawson, Paige Liversidge, Katy Neal, Chris Taylor

An artistic county youngster will be honoured today by the Connecting Shropshire broadband partnership after scooping top prize in an unusual competition.

A Banksy-style art challenge was organised to mark Bicton Church of England Primary School becoming the first in the county to be served by the multi-million pound Connecting Shropshire partnership between Shropshire Council and BT.

Paige Liversidge’s design was picked from scores of imaginative entries by fellow students, to adorn the high-speed broadband cabinet outside her school in Bicton Lane, Bicton, near Shrewsbury.

Paige, aged 11, was joined today by representatives from Shropshire Council and BT to unveil her winning design on the cabinet, which will be used to highlight to the local community that high-speed fibre broadband is now available in the area. This cabinet is one of 75 installed in the multi-million pound Connecting Shropshire broadband programme of which 55 are now ‘live’ and ready for people to order faster fibre broadband from their chosen internet service provider.

Paige Liversidge, the winning designer, said:

“I’m really excited to see my design go up on the cabinet. For my design I chose lots of bright colours so that people walking past would want to stop and read my sticker and learn what it means to have fast broadband.”

Commenting on the benefits of fibre broadband in the school, acting head teacher Natalie Johnson said:

“Use of the internet now touches every part of the curriculum. Our pupils use it every day for everything from interactive activities to doing online research for school projects and a variety of other schoolwork. Without fast connectivity and speeds there is the risk that children will miss out on what is now an essential learning tool, so having fibre in our area is great news. We were delighted when Connecting Shropshire asked us to take part and we’re all looking forward to seeing the winning sticker in pride of place.”

Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council Cabinet member responsible for broadband, said:

“For us it’s great to have the real life impact of what we’re doing shine through. We’ve had more than 50 of these cabinets go live in the last few months and by getting involved with communities like this it has just brought home what we’re doing. These children have shown great creativity in their designs and the teachers and parents are rightly very proud of them, sadly my entry didn’t make the final shortlist!”

Dan Czyzyk, BT project manager, said:

“Connecting Shropshire is a huge engineering programme but the roll-out is going extremely well. So far our engineers have installed around 175,000 metres of fibre optic cable, sited 75 high speed broadband cabinets* and poured over 80 tonnes of concrete!

“The new fibre optic network opens up a host of exciting opportunities for everyone – whether you’re a family with lots of different devices on at the same time, or a homeworker or small business – everything is faster and better when you’re using fibre broadband.”

Daniel Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said:

“I would like to congratulate Paige on winning this competition, her poster will be seen by all households and businesses within the vicinity of the school and will encourage them to order faster fibre broadband. I also applaud the school for getting pupils involved in this important ‘Connecting Shropshire’ broadband project.”

The partnership builds on the commercial roll-out of fibre broadband by the private sector, which has already made the high-speed technology available to more than 110,000 Shropshire homes and businesses. The programme itself is continuing at pace with over 10,000 premises homes and businesses now within reach of the new fibre network as a result of Connecting Shropshire. More details of where and when the programme will be heading can be found at the website – www.connectingshropshire.co.uk – or by following the programme on Facebook and Twitter.

Note:

* 75 cabinets have been installed to date; customers can order from 55 today with a further 20 cabinets going live in the next few weeks.

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