Superfast fibre broadband has arrived at the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone more than three months early.
Northamptonshire County Council and BT announced today that three of eight new roadside fibre broadband cabinets planned for the enterprise zone are now ‘live’ – thanks to the multi-million pound Superfast Northamptonshire project.
Broadband speeds up to 80Mbps are now available in some areas and businesses can upgrade their broadband connection by contacting their internet service provider or shopping around for the best deals.
Openreach, BT’s local network business which is installing the fibre network for the project, is pressing ahead with the engineering works. When this phase of work is completed later this year, it’s anticipated that the new ‘fibre to the cabinet’ technology will be available to more than 180 premises in the enterprise zone, many of which are businesses.
Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure and economic growth, said: “Providing superfast broadband to the enterprise zone is of strategic importance for the county’s economy and this new infrastructure will help to retain businesses here, support their growth and be a real boost to attract further inward investment to the area.
“Fast broadband is crucial for businesses across Northamptonshire and our local economy. More than 6,000 local companies which otherwise wouldn’t be served are set to benefit from broadband plans now in place through the Superfast Northamptonshire project.”
Urban enterprise zone
The Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone is the largest urban enterprise zone in the UK. It is made up of more than 20 sites stretching along the River Nene from Sixfields in the west, right across to Northampton town centre.
The area boasts global brands such as Carlsberg and Cosworth sitting alongside small thriving businesses, and will soon be home to the new campus for the University of Northampton which has made a £330m commitment to relocate its campuses to the zone’s eastern section.
One of the companies based in the enterprise zone, Shiny Studio Ltd, has already taken advantage of a superfast connection. Steve Mowbray, producer, said: “We set up Shiny Studio to support businesses and charities deliver their products and services to their audience in new and innovative ways through film, narrative and interactive experience.
“Communicating and sharing large files with multiple parties on a global level is a fundamental part of what we do. The internet plays an integral role in allowing us to do this. As soon as the upgrade to fibre broadband was available we took immediate advantage.
“Already we are finding that productivity and customer experience has improved dramatically, allowing us to make sure our partners are receiving the best service that we can deliver.”
Councillor Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, said: “We want to ensure businesses in Northampton can take advantage of the opportunities that come from using the latest technologies.
“Speed of communication is essential for businesses in every sector. Our enterprise zone is already seen as the top performing area in the UK and superfast broadband is a vital tool for the high-tech businesses that we are working to attract.”
Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, said: “It is vital that businesses are able to take advantage of the great opportunities offered by the new fibre network and we have worked closely with our partners to make this happen. I’m sure many of the businesses in Northampton Enterprise Zone are delighted they will be able to order a fibre broadband package so they can realise the benefits that the faster speed fibre technology brings.”
More than 50,000 homes and businesses across the county can now access superfast fibre broadband speeds above 24Mbps - thanks to the Superfast Northamptonshire project. By December 2017 this will have risen to over 73,850 premises, made possible by the multi-million pound investment by the county council, government, local partners and BT.
There are some parts of the enterprise zone where superfast broadband plans have yet to be secured. The county council will be seeking solutions for these areas and the businesses located there in need of faster broadband, through future stages of the project and with the support of funding from the Department of Culture Media and Sport.
People can find out more about the fibre roll out and the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme for business at www.superfastnorthamptonshire.net.