Superfast West Yorkshire unveils fibre broadband for thousands more homes and businesses in Wakefield

Date: 15/07/2014
Ref: PR 4640

The Superfast West Yorkshire project today announced the next phase of its expansion of high-speed fibre broadband.

By late summer fibre broadband will be available to more than 4,000 homes and businesses in Wakefield in six exchange areas.

They are included in a total of 12,000 homes and businesses to be enabled this year as part of the second phase of the multi-million pound programme, with engineers set to install many more new green fibre cabinets and lay hundreds of kilometres of cable.

This latest deployment phase will make fibre more widely available in parts of Wakefield which already have the high-speed technology including Crofton, Horbury Ossett, Knottingley, Pontefract, Wakefield and Wentbridge. Work to connect new 'spines' of fibre optic cable between the telephone exchanges and new green fibre cabinets connecting people's homes and businesses, is already well underway.

Just under 7,000 premises across West Yorkshire already have access to new high-speed broadband thanks to the Superfast West Yorkshire project. Once completed, this latest building phase will provide access to high speed fibre broadband to approximately a third of homes and businesses in the entire project area.

Wakefield Council's Cabinet member for Economic Growth and Skills, Cllr Denise Jeffery, said: "This is fantastic news for businesses and people across the district and will help improve service for residents.

"Every day the number of existing and new services delivered to us online is growing to meet our daily needs and improvements to this service will provide faster internet connections for people to work, learn and play."

Superfast West Yorkshire builds on BT's commercial investment of £2.5 billion to rollout fibre broadband to two-thirds of UK premises. Wakefield Council, Leeds City Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council and Calderdale Council will work with BT to bring fibre broadband to premises in West Yorkshire, which are not currently included in the private sector's commercial roll-out plans and would otherwise have missed out on this opportunity.

The programme will involve investing a total of £21.96 million to extend high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of households and businesses across the majority of West Yorkshire by the end of 2015. The programme also aims to ensure all premises in this area have access to speeds of more than 2Mbps.

The investment is made up of Government funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) combined with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), BT and four West Yorkshire local authorities.

Faster broadband will help local businesses find new customers and become more competitive and efficient, whilst for households the high-speed technology will offer new educational, training and leisure opportunities.

Bill Murphy, BT's managing director of next generation access, said: "This is great news for the people of Wakefield. From children doing their homework to caring for our elderly population and from social media, to e-commerce and home entertainment – fast broadband is the critical enabler.

"Fibre is no longer a nice to have for business. It is a need to have. To compete effectively in this world of technology we find ourselves in you need to be able to move, act and do business quickly and effectively. Faster broadband breaks down the barriers to doing business in the digital world like online trading, which helps to empower those small businesses to find new markets, sell new products, try new models and compete on an equal footing with larger businesses."

BT's network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so consumers and businesses in Wakefield will benefit from a highly competitive market.

Residents and businesses across Wakefield who want to keep up to date with progress of the roll-out are encouraged to register their interest. This will enable the Superfast West Yorkshire team to send out updates on the project and identify areas of high demand. More than 5,553 businesses and residents across West Yorkshire have already registered their interest through the website www.superfastwestyorkshire.co.uk

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