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200th community broadband scheme goes live

Monday 4th December, 2017

200th community broadband scheme goes live

A small rural community near Harrogate is the 200th in the UK to be upgraded to superfast, fibre broadband as a result of a partnership between local residents and Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest phone and broadband network.

Since the upgrade, people living in the 11 households, near the village of Follifoot, are now getting broadband speeds up to 75 times faster than their previous 1Mbps. The latest Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology, where engineers install new fibre optic cabling and a new fibre broadband street cabinet, is being used to boost speeds.

The cost has been covered by investment from Openreach, the residents themselves, who each contributed equally to the project, and the Government’s Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme, which supports households and businesses with speeds of less than 2Mbps who are not covered by any current fibre broadband rollout plans.

The co-funded deal is the 200th to ‘go live’ as part of Openreach’s UK-wide Community Fibre Partnerships (CFP) programme.  It is bringing fibre broadband to some of the UK’s most challenging areas with more than 30,000 UK households and businesses already able to benefit from faster speeds. The figure is expected to double to 60,000 within 12 months.

Resident Martin Bentley, who led the campaign for the upgrade, said: “The upgrade to superfast broadband is making the world of difference to our everyday lives. Before, we struggled to carry out even basic online tasks, such as downloading an email attachment or watching a film. Often we would have to use 4G via our mobile phones, which was costly and used a lot of data. It was far from ideal.

“Now every member of the family can be online at the same time. The kids can watch Netflix while we’re online checking emails or doing the online shopping without so much as a noticeable drop in speed. Some of the people living here, including myself, can now work from home when we need to which is providing a much better work/life balance. Before, the speeds we were getting just weren’t fast enough to get any work done.”

Derek Richardson, Openreach programme director in Yorkshire and the Humber, added: “This small Yorkshire community has marked a major milestone in the success of a national scheme, which is bringing superfast broadband to some of the UK’s most challenging locations. We know how important fast internet is to communities and are determined to make this exciting technology as widely available as possible.

“Whether it’s streaming TV in the home, doing homework online or downloading large files in the office, superfast broadband makes doing anything online faster. With a choice of many broadband providers and the variety of services and prices they offer, the Openreach network provides real choice. It’s great to know that this new internet connection is helping to improve the quality of life for these families.

“I’d appeal to any community which isn’t part of any current fibre plans to get in touch with us to see what we can do for them.”

Openreach offers fibre broadband access to all service providers on an open, wholesale basis, which means that local households and businesses can benefit from competitive pricing and products from a wide range of providers.

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