Gavin Williamson, MP for South Staffordshire, has welcomed the news that fibre optic broadband will soon be available to thousands of homes in South Staffordshire.
Gavin recently wrote to the chief executive of BT to raise residents’ concerns about the slow broadband speeds in many of South Staffordshire’s villages.
BT has since confirmed to Gavin that fibre optic broadband – already available in large swathes of Codsall, Himley and Great Wyrley – will shortly be available to thousands of more homes in the area via the Superfast Staffordshire BDUK project.
The cutting edge broadband will come online in Pattingham, Brewood, Shareshill and some parts of Featherstone, this year. Kinver, Enville and Trysull will receive fibre optic coverage in 2015.
Wombourne is currently being upgraded, with more than 6,000 premises expected to obtain the new fibre product in the coming months. Infrastructure work is also ongoing in Codsall, where a further 4,600 premises will benefit from the rollout.
The few areas that are not currently set to receive fibre optic broadband, which include Halfpenny Green and parts of Essington, have been given a guarantee that they will receive at least 2mbps by 2016. Additional funding is currently been sought to bring these areas up to at least superfast speeds.
Gavin said: “I greatly welcome the news that fibre optic broadband is set to be rolled out across South Staffordshire. A lot of local residents rely on broadband for everything from ordering their daily shopping through to watching their Smart TV. Fast broadband is also extremely important for many of our local businesses, which rely upon it to run their websites, manage orders and communicate with customers.
“There is still, however, more work to be done and we need to ensure that every household and business in the constituency is receiving, at the very minimum, superfast speeds. There is a huge difference between 2mbps and the 80mps offered by the fibre optic package, and we need to see that everyone has the opportunity to obtain the service that suits them.”
The fibre optic rollout is the result of a recent deal between the Staffordshire Broadband project – led by the County Council with colleagues at Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership – and BT to deliver high-speed fibre broadband to the county by spring 2016.
The partnership is building on commercial rollouts already taking place across Staffordshire, which, together, will result in more than 472,000 premises – around 97 per cent of homes and businesses – having access to fibre broadband. Around 95 per cent will have access to broadband speeds of 24 megabits per second (Mbps) and above.
Overall, the County Council has invested £7.44 million – with an additional £7.44 million from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework and £12.47 million from BT – towards ensuring people across the county can access a wide range of broadband services.