Thousands more premises to get superfast in the South West
Thursday 27th April, 2017
BT is working with hundreds of hard-to-reach communities across the country to help them get superfast broadband. In the south-west of England around 50 communities have signed up for a Community Fibre Partnership with BT. This will see more than 6,000 premises benefit from faster internet.
The communities, which range from hamlets and small villages through to business parks, are all part of the so-called ‘final five per cent’ of the UK not covered by fibre broadband rollout plans.
Through its Community Fibre Partnerships (CFP) programme, BT has made a commitment to help communities like these to find a fibre solution and is helping them to develop localised plans to make the delivery of affordable fibre a reality.
For example, some communities have applied for a schools grant to help them get fibre-enabled.
Schools grant of up to £20,000
The grant has been made possible thanks to a £2 million fund created by BT. It means communities can apply for a match-funded grant of up to £20,000 toward the cost of their new fibre infrastructure - as long as that new infrastructure also serves the local school which also doesn’t have a superfast connection.
Currently, there are five communities in the south-west set to benefit from the grant. Their new fibre infrastructure will also serve their local school giving a boost to learning and education.
These communities include one of Gloucestershire’s oldest villages - English Bicknor in the Forest of Dean. Around 130 households in the village will get superfast broadband. English Bicknor Church of England Primary School, located in in the heart of its village, will also be covered.
The development was welcomed by Hayley Alliston, head teacher of the school.
She said: “The internet is an essential learning tool in the classroom. Teachers use the touch screens as a daily part of teaching and learning. Improved broadband will allow our pupils and teachers better access to the internet, without waiting for things to download.”
“Pupils regularly use the iPads and laptops as part of English and mathematics lessons so they will be very pleased. This will also allow us to have a better conversation when we Skype our friendship school in Texas.”
The schools grant is also helping to bring faster fibre broadband to the village of Chapmanslade near Warminster in Wiltshire - home to Chapmanslade Church of England Primary School.
Communities as far and wide as Spetisbury in Dorset and Redland, just north of Bristol are also due to get superfast broadband as a result of having a Community Fibre Partnership with BT. They’ll now get superfast fibre to their local school as well as to the community.
“We believe the superfast fibre broadband service which the community fibre partnership is working towards will bring us into the 21st century, ensuring that we can all enjoy better and more reliable communications in whatever we do.” Said Robin Fyffe, a Gloucestershire residents who helped to spearhead a Community Fibre Partnership deal.
If a school in your community doesn’t have fibre then you could be eligible for a grant. Check out BT’s Community Fibre partnerships website to find out more.
One hundredth community
And a group of residents in the Redgrove Park area of Cheltenham became the 100th community in the UK to be connected to the fibre broadband network after approaching BT.
People living in Redgrove Park, a managed estate of more than 70 houses, approached BT and agreed to jointly fund the installation of a new fibre broadband cabinet for their community under the Community Fibre Partnership programme. The residents are now able to upgrade to superfast broadband via an internet service provider of their choice.
Superfast for businesses
The Southwell Business Park on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, home to around 50 firms, is also set to benefit from superfast thanks to a Community Fibre Partnership.
So too is the Otter Brewery set in the remote Luppitt Valley in Devon. The award-winning beer producer struck a deal.
Patrick McCaig, managing director of the brewery, added: “Fast, effective broadband is an essential part of modern day business and it will become even more important in the years ahead. Increasingly, we are communicating online with our customers and suppliers, particularly the larger companies. This new technology should help our office employees become at least ten per cent more efficient.”
New builds can benefit too
New builds are springing up all over the south-west. A number of these didn’t exist when fibre rollout plans were being made, or were built after fibre installation in their area was completed so BT is working closely with developers across the region to bring fast broadband to their sites.
For example, superfast broadband is coming to a housing development at Locking Parklands near Weston-Super-Mare following a partnership between Openreach and housing developer St Modwen Homes. This will make high-speed fibre broadband available to around 165 new homes.
Other brand new developments in the south-east set to go superfast include Cavannah Homes’ Crownhill development near Plymouth and Taylor Wimpey’s development at Bishop’s Cleeve, near Cheltenham.
If you live in a part of the south-west that’s not included in any fibre broadband rollout plans then your next step should be to check out having a Community Fibre Partnership.