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Major Boost for Black Country Households and Businesses as Fibre Broadband Project Passes 30,000 Premises Milestone

Stourbridge firm welcomes technology boost for its international business

More than 30,000 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.

The latest areas to benefit include parts of Aldridge, Bearwood, Brownhills, Fallings Park, Finchfield, Great Barr, Halesowen, Kingswinford, Lye, Pelsall, Penn, Sedgley, Stourbridge and Wolverhampton.

The progress of the roll-out has been welcomed by Stourbridge-based firm Cox & Plant, which upgraded to faster fibre broadband last month. Since then the company, which produces turnkey solutions for food processing businesses around the world, has seen a 10-fold increase in its broadband download speeds. Cox & Plant specialise in vibratory convey systems however they provide a complete food processing solution designing and installing everything their clients need to move food products through their factories whilst significantly reducing their running costs.

High-speed fibre broadband has supported Cox & Plant in launching its new interactive website. The website acts as the company’s online shop window, enabling it to showcase products and services to customers in Europe and further afield.

The technology also allows for better working with clients, live calls over the internet, the streaming of footage of equipment as well as the showing of the company’s corporate video in the quality it was intended.

Andy Cox, Managing Director Cox & Plant said: “We noticed the difference straight away – in terms of the way we communicate with clients, but also in terms of the positive impact on our European profile.

“We can now receive enquiries at any time and clients can receive and review our detailed drawings whilst in conversation with us. The result is we can discuss and agree each client’s individual requirements more quickly and the whole turn around process is speeded up.

“Looking to the future, faster fibre broadband opens up a whole range of new opportunities for us and will enable us to improve the services we offer which will help us compete even more effectively on a global scale.

“We used to have to wait around two hours for detailed design drawings to download, and often had to ask clients not to send us large files during office hours or vice versa, to ensure the system did not grind to a halt. Thankfully those days are behind us now.”

So far, engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business - have installed around 135 kilometres of fibre optic cable and around 285 fibre broadband road-side cabinets for the Black Country Broadband Project, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Because the new network is being rolled out by Openreach residents and businesses opting for an upgrade can choose from a wide range of broadband service providers.

Ninder Johal, Chair of the Black Country Broadband Group and a Board Member of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Black Country Broadband Project is really picking up the pace and to have exceeded the 30k milestone is fantastic news. It is also great to hear from business the impact superfast broadband is having both in terms of profile as well as the way in which organisations are conducting their business.”
Ian Binks, BT’s Regional Manager for the Black Country and West Midlands, said: “Faster fibre broadband is changing the way people communicate, learn and do business. Whether you’re updating a website, researching the internet for homework or using it for catch-up TV – everything is easier, better and faster if you use fibre broadband. The project team is working hard to make this exciting technology more widely available, as quickly as possible.”

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 of fibre broadband by the private sector.

Visit this webpage for more information on the Black Country Broadband Project.

Photo caption (L - R): Ravi Kumar Black Country LEP, Michael Hudson Cox & Plant, Andy Cox MD Cox & Plant, Ian Binks, BT.

Photo: Jas Sansi

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