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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SUPERFAST broadband is recognized as the next essential utility for everyone, whether it’s for business, schools, or leisure and when we don’t have good access we miss it.
You should be already aware of our ground breaking Superfast Staffordshire project, working with BT and BDUK, that’s delivering high speed fibre broadband to homes and businesses across the county. We’re now celebrating the three year anniversary of the project launch which has been followed by a hugely successful programme. When complete, together with commercial roll-out, 96 per cent of properties will be able to access fast broadband by the end of 2018. To date we’ve enable connection to over 70,000 properties across the county. Having this kind of speed on this kind of scale is great news and is cutting edge technology that will have a huge impact on our county. This will be some of the fastest internet tech available to nearly every house and business in Staffordshire, making us one of the best connected counties in the country.
Right from the start of this project we have always said we would do all we could to reach the final four per cent in the most remote areas and now the Community Fibre Partnership Support Fund initiative is helping us do this. This additional funding allows the project to co-invest along with local communities. ?400,000 has been set aside to help local eligible communities get connected with additional funding towards engineering work coming from Openreach, BT’s local network business.
Stafford borough has been the first area to benefit from this with three communities – Cotwalton, Brookside Business Park near Stone and Cold Norton. Cotwalton will have the necessary upgrade work completed in the next few weeks. Cold Norton is the most recent addition to the project with around 50 premises, including the recently opened Norton Bridge Golf Club. This approach is the first of its kind in the UK and other areas are already looking to follow our example. I firmly believe that access to superfast broadband is now an essential utility service.
It helps improve quality of life for people and means businesses can thrive.
That is why connecting communities remains a priority for us.
Internet users living in an East Staffordshire village have been given a reason to celebrate as they welcome new superfast broadband. Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton and Uttoxeter, has revealed that Anslow residents will now have improved broadband speeds thanks to a new BT cabinet. The cabinet is located at the junction of Lount Lane and Longhedge Lane and is now live, and another cabinet serving most of Main Street and Bushton Lane is due to go live any day.
Mr Griffiths said: “After a long campaign, I have good news for broadband users in Anslow. Superfast broadband is now available to the village. These cabinets will help to improve broadband speeds for the village.
“After being contacted by Philip White and a number of residents who were still not able to access fast broadband, I met with BT before Christmas to push for these improvements. At last, Anslow residents will have decent broadband speeds. “Anslow has been a broadband blackspot for too long, so it is brilliant news that most of the village will now have access to faster speeds.
“Good quality internet service has become essential to our daily lives, both at work and at home, and I want to make sure that all residents and businesses in Anslow and across the whole of Burton and Uttoxeter are able to receive the broadband speeds that they need.
“I know how frustrating it can be when the speed just isn’t there and I speak to BT on behalf of residents on a regular basis. If you are having difficulties with broadband you should contact my office so I can make BT aware of where the issues are. I will be continuing to push them to make sure that we can all receive the best service possible.
“Thank you to Philip White for his help and assistance with this campaign.”
Mr Griffiths has long been an advocate for improved broadband in East Staffordshire and said: “We have to make sure that we have competitive infrastructure and this includes our broadband connections. A small company based in a rural area like Anslow will be disadvantaged and not able to increase their business if they don’t have a fast internet connection that allows them to communicate easily with their customers and suppliers and anyone else who might be interested in their product.
“Local companies and homes should not be disadvantaged. Broadband infrastructure must be competitive and must provide a service to everyone.” He added that BT is undertaking further work in the Anslow Gate area later this year which should extend these improvements to more homes and businesses in the village.