14 October 2014

More than 28,000 homes and businesses across Northamptonshire now have access to high speed fibre broadband thanks to the Superfast Northamptonshire project.

This milestone marks the passing of the halfway point for the first stage of the ambitious project, led by Northamptonshire County Council in partnership with BT. This first stage aims to make fibre broadband available to more than 56,000 premises in the county by the end of 2015.

What's been done so far?

Engineers from BT’s local network business Openreach have already installed more than 115 green roadside cabinets and laid over 200kms of new fibre optic cables as part of the first stage of this project. The latest areas to benefit from the programme include parts of Bozeat, Farthinghoe, Kings Sutton, Little Houghton and Middleton Cheney.

Caroline Marriott, a partner of Lower Farm in Barnwell, is delighted with the benefits the new service is bringing to both her farming and B&B businesses.

“We used to struggle with speeds of around 1Mbps which made it difficult to do essential day to day things for our business such as taking bookings from customers, ordering supplies and online banking,” she said. “Fibre broadband has propelled us into the 21st century. We’ve saved time, become more efficient and improved the service we offer to our customers. Thanks to the strong Wi-Fi signal in all of our ten bedrooms, our customers can now make calls, including video calls, over the internet which is important because we have a poor mobile signal here.

“We can now also fill in our farming forms online and do essential things like our HM Revenue and Customs training online, which all saves us time and money. We’re now considering moving to an online booking system to further improve the service we offer our customers and to boost our own productivity. All of this from our idyllic rural retreat.”

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for economic growth and strategic infrastructure, said: “I’m delighted that we’ve passed this significant milestone in the project which is absolutely essential if Northamptonshire is going to be able to compete in the global economy.

“As the example in Barnwell demonstrates, the availability of excellent broadband speeds can bring tremendous benefits for businesses as well as the advantages in the home too.

“I’m impressed with the rapid deployment of the superfast infrastructure and look forward to the completion of this first stage of the project by the end of next year. There’s a lot more to come.”

Steve Henderson, regional director of next generation access for BT, said: “We’re making great progress in Northamptonshire and I’m delighted to see more homes and businesses taking advantage of this revolutionary technology. More than 200,000 homes and businesses in the county now have access to the service due to the Superfast Northamptonshire project and BT’s commercial roll-out. The high speed service is boosting the competitiveness of local firms and offering new ways of flexible working, entertainment and learning opportunities for local residents.”

Signing up to broadband

The new network is available on an open wholesale basis to all internet service providers, ensuring competitive pricing and products for all local households and businesses.

To access the high-speed broadband network, residents and businesses in the upgraded areas should contact their chosen Internet Service Provider and enquire about a fast fibre connection.