A countywide broadband partnership which has enabled nearly every household and business in Staffordshire to connect to superfast speeds has been completed.
The final village – Ellenhall near Stafford – was recently connected thanks to the Superfast Staffordshire programme, a partnership made up of the county council, the Government’s Building Digital UK (BDUK) and Openreach.
When the programme began in 2013, just 65 per cent of properties were able to connect to faster speeds – now more than 97 per cent are able to benefit.
Over the course of the programme, more than 82,500 premises have gained access to superfast speeds, and in recent years 6,600 premises received an ultrafast full fibre connection – providing gigabit-capable speeds of up to 1000mbps.
Now the Superfast Staffordshire team is now working to find solutions to reach the final 20,000 premises yet to be included in the plan.
Simon Tagg, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, infrastructure and climate change, said: “Superfast broadband is an essential for everyone’s day-to-day living, enabling people to access health, education, banking and leisure services and more. It is also critical for business operations, growth and increased productivity.
“We are a largely rural county, so needed to connect to those communities to complement commercial provision in our towns.
“To enable 97 per cent of properties now is a huge success, but we continue to explore other solutions for the final 20,000 premises.
“We are now looking forward by developing a long-term digital strategy for Staffordshire. This will focus on gigabit technology provision for all communities, maximising the benefits of 5G roll-out, connecting isolated areas and growing our digital economy.”
Kasam Hussain, Openreach’s regional partnership director in the Midlands, said: “Staffordshire County Council has been a great partner and we’ve delivered a huge amount of good work across the county.
“Technology moves at pace, so although we’re celebrating the fantastic achievement of reaching 97 per cent of premises with superfast broadband, work is already in full flow as we make ultrafast full fibre broadband widely available.”