Thousands more homes and businesses to benefit from multi-million pound fibre broadband partnership

Around 5,000 more homes and businesses across Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry will get access to high-speed fibre broadband during the next six months as a result of the CSW Broadband partnership, lead partners Warwickshire County Council and BT announced today.

Later this Summer, faster fibre-based broadband will become available for the first time in parts of Ilmington and Shotteswell, followed in September by Long Compton. The latest expansion will also include making the high-speed technology more widely available in areas of Walsgrave-on-Sowe.

There will be further upgrade work from September, which will see faster fibre broadband extended to nearly 9,000 more premises in areas of: Alcester, Bidford-upon-Avon, Coleshill, Fillongley, Lapworth, Leamington Spa, Moreton Morrell, Pailton, Rugby, Shipston-on-Stour, Shirley, Southam, Stratford-upon-Avon, Studley, Warwick, Wolston and Wolvey.

Engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – will complete the upgrade work during 2016, marking the end of the first part of the ambitious CSW Broadband roll-out*.

It’s around 14 months since the CSW Broadband partnership started connecting the first premises to faster fibre broadband. Since then, Openreach engineers have installed more than 180 new road-side cabinets. As a result, around 36,000 homes and businesses are now able to access the new fibre optic network.

Councillor Alan Cockburn, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council said: “Fast fibre broadband is making a real difference to the way in which people work and play. Our businesses, particularly, are reaping the benefits with many rural businesses now being able to compete in a global marketplace.

“It’s also feasible to work from home or from other locations, which has led to less need to travel and a real improvement in work-life balance for employees as well as for those running their own businesses.

“As we’re getting close to the end of the Contract 1*, we are increasingly having to use different types of technology to upgrade many premises that are not connected to the main communications network in the normal way, such as people on ‘exchange only lines’.

“We would urge everyone to register their details through the CSW Broadband website – www.cswbroadband.org.uk – so the team can send updates when work is happening in their area.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “As the project progresses, increasingly we’re reaching further into the more rural parts of the county. Whether a homeworker, a start-up business, a busy family or a silver-surfer – the benefits of high-speed broadband can be seen to impact on all aspects of modern day life.

“CSW Broadband is a huge and complex engineering roll-out, but our teams are continuing to work very hard to bring faster fibre broadband within reach of more and more communities as quickly as possible.”

Updates are also available on Twitter and Facebook.

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 choice of broadband service providers, with more than 140 now operating in the UK. Local people choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps**.

In February, CSW Broadband announced a further £10.73 million funding that will extend the reach of fibre broadband to another 17,000 homes and businesses across Warwickshire and Solihull***. This is in addition to the current roll-out programme.

*The first part of the CSW Broadband roll-out is known as Contract 1.

**These are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.

*** The new deal – Contract 2 – was spearheaded by Warwickshire County Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which are contributing an initial £3.68 million and £0.38 million respectively, with an additional £2.61m from BT and a further £4.06m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP).

When complete, it will increase the percentage of homes and businesses able to access high-speed fibre broadband in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire to nearly 94 per cent when combined with the first phase of the CSW Broadband roll-out already underway and the private sector investments of companies like BT.

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