Northamptonshire County Council is a step closer towards realising its goal of extending the infrastructure that will deliver complete superfast broadband coverage for the county.
The first tranche of new fibre powered green cabinets to go ‘live’ and support high speed next generation broadband services was unveiled at an event in Towcester on 3 February 2014.
Government minister Ed Vaizey was on hand to witness this milestone, which marks the first stage of deployment under the county council’s Superfast Northamptonshire project in partnership with BT.
What are the benefits?
Most residents and businesses located in Towcester can now benefit from high speed broadband providing speeds of up to 80Mbps with a total of 10 fibre cabinets now ‘live’ in the town. Further cabinets are now live in Weedon and Paulerspury – bringing the total number of homes and businesses now able to access high-speed broadband to 4,175.
Work on the rollout continues apace with a further 17 fibre cabinets being switched on across Towcester, Silverstone, Long Buckby, Braunston, Blisworth and Weedon over the coming weeks. A total of 8,157 premises will be able to benefit from fibre broadband once this initial phase of the county-wide roll-out is completed by March 2014.
As part of this first deployment phase Openreach engineers laid around 90 kilometres of optical fibre cable and are installing a total of 41 new fibre broadband cabinets throughout the Superfast Northamptonshire Project area.
How much is being invested?
This is part of a £11.4m capital investment in the county by the county council, BT and the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to deploy fibre-based broadband to over 50,000 premises by the end of 2015.
The project will build on BT’s commercial investment in the county already committed as part of its £2.5 billion overall commercial investment in UK fibre broadband.
Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “This is undoubtedly one of the biggest impacting projects we’re involved with which will make an enormous difference in bringing prosperity to the county.
“More and more, the internet is used in nearly every aspect of our lives both in business, public services and leisure.
“Having widely available superfast broadband is essential if we are to compete in the digital global economy and I’m delighted that we’ve reached such a significant stage of this initiative.
“BT has delivered more coverage two months earlier than expected at this stage of the project which is a real achievement.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: “This ambitious project will boost the productivity of local businesses and help to attract a more diverse range of high-growth companies to the area. It will play a major role in creating prosperity in the county.
“We have been working hard to get us to where we are today. This is an exciting time for Northamptonshire and the beginning of a journey that will see the communications landscape completely transformed.”
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “Today’s ‘switching on’ of the first tranche of superfast broadband cabinets marks the start of a remarkable transformation of broadband throughout Northamptonshire.
“The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to Northamptonshire’s economy.”
Who will get superfast connections?
The project establishes the foundation for Northamptonshire’s plans to secure access to superfast broadband for all businesses and homes in the county by 2017.
The new fibre based network will be open to all communications providers on an equivalent basis. Households and businesses in Northamptonshire will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of service providers.
It will also boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for local people as well as easier access to local authority and health services.
Fibre broadband will enable people to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and send and receive large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. This will make things like gaming, watching BBC i-Player, using Skype to keep in touch with friends and family anywhere in the world, or downloading films and music much quicker and without annoying ‘buffering’ or screen freeze.
For businesses it means quick and easy download and upload of large documents and data to customers and suppliers, and time and cost savings by enabling video conferencing and remote working for example.
Ask your internet provider about how to upgrade to a superfast broadband service or contact BT to find out more about what is available to you.