Pioneering scheme puts rural village near Stone on the path to ultrafast broadband
A rural community near Stone is enjoying ultrafast connections to oversees family members and customers through a pioneering broadband scheme. Villagers in Cotwalton have seen their broadband download speeds surge from around 3Mbps to more than 300Mbps after becoming the first area to benefit from Staffordshire County Council’s Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund (CFPSF). The scheme is thought to be the first local authority-led initiative of its kind and it gives participating properties access to ultrafast broadband.
It is enabling businesses to connect with customers more easily, families to speak to relations in Australia and thousands of photographs to be backed up online.
Superfast Staffordshire – the partnership led by Staffordshire County Council and BT Group – launched the scheme earlier this year as part of its bid to help the final four per cent of county areas not part of any public or private sector fibre broadband upgrade plans. The partnership – which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme – set aside GBP400,000 for co-funding projects through the fund, which can be used to match money raised by households and businesses in an eligible community. Additional funding towards the extensive engineering work will come from Openreach, the business responsible for Britain’s largest telephone and broadband network through its Community Fibre Partnership programme.
Cotwalton resident Brian Scott, who brought the community together to lead the scheme, said: “Cotwalton is in the middle of nowhere – we are a tiny village and would never be economically viable for connection through the normal programme.
“We heard about the community fibre partnership, which is a way communities like ourselves can get some funding, together with our own funding and get our own project off the ground.
“But what was special about this is that Staffordshire County Council also contributed to the project so that reduced the costs to the residents even further.
I’d definitely recommend that any villages which would not be included in the normal superfast Staffordshire roll-out to get in touch with the county council.
“It’s such an easy process.
It literally is just a phone call and the guys there will do all the work for you and you can get your own project up and running.”
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