Net benefits as broadband gets up to speed

Robert Pelosi celebrates the end of phase one with representatives from BT and the Central Superfast programme
Robert Pelosi celebrates the end of phase one with representatives from BT and the Central Superfast programme
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Businesses are benefiting hugely as Central Superfast crosses the finish line on its high-speed fibre broadband rollout to more than 41,000 customers.

The multi-million pound partnership between Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes councils and BT achieved its phase 1 target right on schedule. It means that superfast fibre broadband is now available to 91 per cent of Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes households and businesses.

Work on the £9.94 million Phase 1 rollout started in June 2014. Since then, 181 new green fibre cabinets have been installed across Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes and more than 100 km of fibre cable has been deployed – enough to go all the way to Brighton from Hockliffe.

Engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, are now preparing to start a second phase of work, which will extend coverage to another 16,500 Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes homes and businesses.

The second contract is a partnership between Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes and Luton Borough Councils, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, and is making a combined investment of more than £11m.

Key representatives from Central Bedfordshire Council, BT and Openreach met near one of the final cabinets to be upgraded in the first rollout phase – at Hockliffe Business Park – to mark the programme’s achievement.

Among the businesspeople to have ordered fibre broadband is Robert Pelosi, dealer principal of Village Car Sales located at the business park.

He said: “The fibre broadband coming to the Hockliffe Business Park will bring a great deal of instant benefit to our business security. Security is the main concern for our car sales showroom, and this will improve beyond recognition.

“Our internet-connected CCTV cameras will now be able to operate at optimum capacity due to the massive increase in broadband speeds. It also means that we will be able to upload HD images of the cars for sale much quicker, putting us on a level playing field with the competition.”

Giles Ellerton, BT’s regional partnership director for the East of England, said: “We are delighted to have completed this contract in such a timely manner. Working very effectively with our partners, we’ve quickly found solutions to even the biggest engineering challenges as we rolled out this exciting technology to some of Bedfordshire’s and Milton Keynes’ most remote areas. Our success demonstrates the strength of the partnership between BT and our partners, as well as the determination of the people working on the programme, and we’ll continue working well together to deliver the next stages of the rollout to reach even more properties.”

Central Beds Councillor Richard Wenham, executive member for Corporate Resources, said: “The rollout of superfast broadband is a priority for the council and the work we have done means we have achieved our initial target and taken superfast coverage across Central Bedfordshire to over 90 per cent. We have also introduced a ‘Better Broadband’ service to ensure that all residents are able to receive download speeds of at least two megabits per second.

“With digital connectivity playing a key role for residents and businesses, we continue to work with our partners to accelerate delivery and extend superfast coverage across the remainder of Central Bedfordshire as quickly as possible.

“The second phase of the rollout has already begun and this will take coverage here to 96.5 per cent by mid 2018.”

A full list of all the cabinets which have been upgraded to fibre by Central Superfast, is available at http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/business/broadband/plans.aspx this includes 72 across Central Bedfordshire.

Once work has been completed to upgrade the broadband network and fibre is available from a local fibre cabinet, customers need to order the service from a broadband service provider.

To find out if superfast broadband is available in your postcode area, or is planned in the second phase of work, search the Central Superfast interactive map at http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/business/broadband/plans.aspx

What’s broadband like in your area now? Email news@lbobserver.co.uk