More than 10,000 businesses and households are now able to access high-speed fibre broadband thanks to the ambitious Black Country Broadband Project, lead partners Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and BT announced today.
Parts of Dudley, Walsall, Wednesbury, West Bromwich and Wolverhampton are among the latest areas to benefit.
They include: Bentley, Blackheath, Brierley Hill, Castle, Darlaston, Ettingshall, Netherton, Priory, Rowley, St Andrews, St James’, St Paul’s, St Thomas’s, the centre of West Bromwich and Woodside.
As part of the roll-out, engineers have so far installed more than 80 fibre broadband road-side cabinets, which are needed to enable local premises to connect to the new network.
Because the project is being rolled out by engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – residents and businesses opting for an upgrade can choose from a wide range of broadband service providers, with more than 140 providers currently operating in the UK.
Work has now also started on the second phase of the roll-out, which is extending the reach of the technology to additional parts of Brierley Hill, Dudley, James Bridge, Streetly, Tipton and Willenhall.
Ninder Johal, Chair of the Black Country Broadband Group and a Board Member of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: "A superfast internet connection can make the world of difference to businesses and homes so reaching the 10,000 milestone is a huge step in delivering our ambition of a minimum 98 per cent high-speed fibre broadband availability across the Black Country by the end of June 2017.
"For businesses superfast broadband can help organisations to become more efficient, cheaper to run and easier to develop improving competitiveness both in the UK and overseas, bringing a real boost to the local economy. At home benefits include faster downloads of music and movies and simultaneous online browsing improving the quality of the online experience for all the family.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director of next generation access, said: "The roll-out of fibre broadband is progressing well and our project teams are working hard to make it available to more parts of the Black Country as quickly as possible. Every day we’re hearing how fibre broadband is touching people’s lives in new and exciting ways. Whether it’s someone working from home or running a small business, or students doing their homework or downloading films or streaming music - everything is easier, better and faster with fibre broadband.”
The Black Country Broadband Project was launched to bring fibre broadband to areas of the region that are not already able to access faster fibre broadband as a result of any commercial roll-outs.
For more information on the Black Country Broadband Project visit www.blackcountrylep.co.uk/place/broadband-plan