Jeremy Wright MP hails major milestone as roll-out of fibre broadband reaches more remote Warwickshire communities

Fibre is feather in the cap for Willoughby as village broadband cabinet is the 300th to go ‘live’ as part of the CSW Broadband roll-out led by Warwickshire County Council and BT;

Village businesses welcome high-speed fibre broadband boost

Jeremy Wright QC MP joined villagers in Willoughby, near Rugby, to mark a major milestone for the multi-million pound CSW Broadband project.

The partnership – led by Warwickshire County Council and BT – today switched on its 300th fibre broadband cabinet in the village.

The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC – the Attorney General and MP for Kenilworth and Southam – met representatives of the CSW Broadband partnership, residents and alpacas from a new start-up business, Willoughby Alpacas, whose fur is, coincidentally, known as ‘fibre’.

Around 185 premises in the village are served by the new fibre cabinet. Households and businesses opting for an upgrade will be able to access broadband download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*.

More than 51,400 homes and businesses are now able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of the CSW Broadband project, which started connecting the first premises just over two years ago, as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Jeremy Wright QC MP said: “The Government has a target to achieve 95 per cent superfast coverage of the UK by 2017. CSW Broadband has an ambition to achieve 98 per cent coverage by 2018, and this cabinet is another step towards those targets. Residents and businesses in Willoughby can now join the information superhighway and work is underway to improve connectivity across the Leam Valley area.”

The arrival of faster fibre broadband has been welcomed as a boost for village firms.

Dr Jeremy Stocker, who owns Willoughby Alpacas, a new start-up business, said: “Access to fast broadband will allow us to set up a website for growing alpaca business, selling high-quality, halter-trained pet alpacas and offering stud services to owners of female animals.”

Rudi Prymaka, landlord of The Rose Inn, said: “As we live in the pub it will be great for us to be able to stream TV and films so we can watch them at a time to suit us. We currently provide wi-fi for our customers, but it is slow and unreliable. Being able to access faster and more reliable broadband will enable us to offer a much improved service.”

Councillor Alan Cockburn, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property at Warwickshire County Council, said: “It’s great news that the CSW Broadband project has reached the 300th cabinet – this is quite a milestone and means that throughout Warwickshire and Solihull many communities are now enjoying superfast broadband speeds.

“This particular location was announced only a couple of weeks ago and, due to the complexity of the work, the programme normally anticipates several months to upgrade each cabinet. However, the teams are accelerating the programme, wherever possible, and today we have the evidence of that.”

Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for Warwickshire and the West Midlands, said: “Every day we’re seeing how fibre broadband technology is benefitting households and businesses in new and exciting ways, which is why we are working hard to make it available to more Warwickshire communities as quickly as possible.”

Richard Jackson, a local ‘broadband champion’, welcomed the arrival of faster fibre broadband in Willoughby and the new opportunities it brought for people opting for an upgrade.

He said: “The availability of superfast broadband is a major step forward for our village. Some villagers will now be able to get better balance to their lives, being able to work from home effectively, or keep in touch with family and friends. Others will be able to boost their businesses, taking advantage of fast reliable communications to utilise internet conferencing and cloud-based services.”

Warwickshire County Councillor, Philip Johnson, Chair of the Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said: “Superfast broadband is absolutely fundamental in this day and age. Whether it’s for work, leisure or learning, we all expect to be able to access the internet, and the CSW Broadband project is making that a reality for so many of our communities.”

Local people can get more information from the CSW Broadband website – www.cswbroadband.org.uk – and via Twitter and Facebook.

Upgrading to fibre broadband does not happen automatically. It’s an ‘opt in’ service, but because the network is being installed by Openreach it is ‘open’, so residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a wide choice of fibre broadband service providers.

The benefits of using fibre broadband are wide-ranging. It enables people to connect a number of devices to the internet at the same time, without experiencing buffering. Sharing and downloading large files and information is also much easier and faster.

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