Superfast broadband reaches 1 million more homes and businesses

The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband has now reached more than 1 million homes and businesses across the UK, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, announced today.

As a result of the work being done, more than 146,676 homes and businesses in the North West are already able to access the new fibre broadband service the rollout is delivering.

In Cheshire businesses that have already benefitted include Global Adventure Challenges, a tour operator that organises UK and international events for charities. The key benefit of superfast broadband for the business is an increase in productivity.

IT manager Daniel Sadler-Roberts welcomes the superfast broadband, saying,  “We rely heavily on the internet, especially when we’re planning event routes. If two of our researchers were online at the same time with the old broadband connection, it would stretch our bandwidth to the limit.”

In Cumbria, Base 3 Systems, a business intelligence solutions company in Ulverston, is taking full advantage of the availability of superfast broadband. Director Ian McDonald explains the difference superfast broadband has made, saying,

“The faster speeds make basic maintenance very simple and everything is a lot less time consuming. Whilst it is not a vital service it is an extremely attractive option and I am very pleased that we have taken it up. Our staff can now communicate between offices much more efficiently and it enables a new level of remote working not feasible with basic broadband. When we update our software – which requires downloading 1GB of data – this is completed in two minutes rather than 30+ minutes it used to take.”

P&E Boys Construction in Lancashire are also making the most of the availability of  faster broadband, as it enables easy transfer of big planning documents between colleagues in different locations. This removes the need to travel from site to site and has enabled staff to save time and achieve a better work life balance

The £1.7 billion nationwide rollout is firmly on track to extend superfast broadband to 95% of UK homes and businesses by 2017. The rate at which the fibre technology is being rolled out under the programme is rapidly accelerating, with up to 40,000 premises gaining access every week.

The UK-wide rollout is a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future by providing access to superfast broadband in areas the private sector would not otherwise have reached. The current rural programme will deliver returns of £20 for every £1 invested, representing tremendous value for money.

Faster broadband will not only improve profits for UK businesses, but will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024.The work involved in the current roll out is expected to provide a £1.5 billion boost to local economies. By 2024, the government’s current investments in faster broadband will be boosting rural economies by £275 million every month, or around £9 million every day.

Current UK coverage of superfast broadband is the highest of the top 5 European economies and we also lead our European counterparts in terms of take up, competitiveness and pricing. But Government recognises that there is still more to do.

Current plans will ensure superfast speeds for 95% of the UK, but Government firmly believes that its transformation of the digital landscape should reach every area of the UK. Focus is now on the “final 5%” – those areas in the most remote and hardest to reach places in the UK that are not covered by existing plans. £10m has been invested in a series of pilot projects currently under way in 8 locations across the nation to investigate the best way of tackling these areas. The findings will be used to inform future funding bids to ensure everyone benefits from the transformation of the digital landscape currently underway.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“More than a million homes and businesses have now benefitted as a result of Government’s investment in superfast broadband.

“It is totally transforming the way we live and work. You can download feature length films faster, chatting online with family and friends around the world using VOIP is more reliable and households can go online simultaneously without the connection slowing down or dropping out.”

“For Businesses, superfast speeds are boosting profits through increased sales, reduced overheads and accessing markets abroad for the first time.”

Gavin Patterson, Chief Executive Officer, BT said:

“Getting fibre to rural areas is hard, and often complex, work but we are making great progress. Our engineers are busy, from Hampshire to the Highlands, connecting homes and businesses whatever the challenge. We are laying undersea cables to the Outer Hebrides, reaching remote villages in Wales and transforming rural areas across England.

“BT has brought technical expertise to the table as well as hundreds of millions of pounds. Some of the early projects are close to completion and further funds will be released if we come in under budget or take-up exceeds expectations.”

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said:

“Today’s milestone shows just how far we’ve come in bringing faster, more reliable broadband to communities across the country.

“Thanks to our funding, we’re helping bridge the gap between urban and rural areas, enabling some of our most isolated businesses and communities to grow and thrive.

“This investment will make a real difference to the rural economy, changing the way that businesses and consumers can use the internet and securing a better future for Britain.”
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