The Superfast West Yorkshire project today announced the next phase of its expansion of high-speed fibre broadband.
By late summer fibre broadband will be available to more than 3,500 homes and businesses in three new exchange areas, Collingham Bridge, Steeton and Thorner, which previously had no access to fibre broadband on the BT network. .
They are included in a total of 12,000 homes and businesses to be enabled this year as part of the second phase of the multi-million pound programme, with engineers set to install many more new green fibre cabinets and lay hundreds of kilometres of cable.
This latest deployment phase includes making fibre more widely available in areas which already have the high-speed technology such as Boston Spa, Chapeltown, Crofton, Crossgates, Cullingworth, Drighlington, Horbury/Ossett, Keighley, Knottingley, Moortown, Morley, Pontefract, Seacroft, Wakefield, Wentbridge and Wetherby.
Work to connect new ‘spines’ of fibre optic cable between the telephone exchanges and new green fibre cabinets connecting people’s homes and businesses, is already well underway.
Just under 7,000 premises already have access to new high-speed broadband thanks to the Superfast West Yorkshire project. Once completed, this latest building phase will provide access to high speed fibre broadband to approximately a third of homes and businesses in the entire project area.
Ian Gray, chair of the Superfast West Yorkshire project board, said: “We’ve still got a long way to go but the progress so far is extremely encouraging and it’s great to see the second phase already getting underway.
“Everyday the number of existing and new services delivered to us online, whether designed to entertain, educate or meet our daily needs, is growing. Already, many digital services require a fast, reliable high-speed broadband connection to work properly. Content and applications will only get more sophisticated until superfast broadband will become essential in order to carry out all your essential tasks online. That’s why I would urge anyone who now has access to fibre to get online superfast.”
Superfast West Yorkshire builds on BT’s commercial investment of £2.5 billion to rollout fibre broadband to two-thirds of UK premises. Leeds City Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Wakefield Council and Calderdale Council will work with BT to bring fibre broadband to premises in West Yorkshire, which are not currently included in the private sector’s commercial roll-out plans and would otherwise have missed out on this opportunity.
The programme will involve investing a total of £21.96 million to extend high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of households and businesses across the majority of West Yorkshire by the end of 2015. The programme also aims to ensure all premises in this area have access to speeds of more than 2Mbps.
The investment is made up of Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) combined with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), BT and four West Yorkshire local authorities.
Faster broadband will help local businesses find new customers and become more competitive and efficient, whilst for households the high-speed technology will offer new educational, training and leisure opportunities.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “This is great news for the people of West Yorkshire. From children doing their homework to caring for our elderly population and from social media, to e-commerce and home entertainment – fast broadband is the critical enabler.
“Fibre is no longer a nice to have for business. It is a need to have. To compete effectively in this world of technology we find ourselves in you need to be able to move, act and do business quickly and effectively. Faster broadband breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world like online trading, which helps to empower those small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses.”
BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so consumers and businesses in West Yorkshire will benefit from a highly competitive market.
Residents and businesses across West Yorkshire who want to keep up to date with progress of the roll-out are encouraged to register their interest. This will enable the Superfast West Yorkshire team to send out updates on the project and identify areas of high demand. More than 5,553 businesses and residents across West Yorkshire have already registered their interest through the website www.superfastwestyorkshire.co.uk.
A Business Support Programme has also been launched together with Kirklees Council. This programme will demonstrate the benefits of high speed internet with targeted support and information to help businesses turn faster broadband speeds into business growth.
1A map showing the area of West Yorkshire covered by this project can be found at www.superfastwestyorkshire.co.uk/coverage
BT was awarded the contract following a procurement exercise through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework.
The Superfast West Yorkshire programme is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.communities.gov.uk/erdf