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Partnership approach brings high-speed broadband to more homes and businesses in Southampton

Peel Street project
Peel Street project awarded £7,900 grant from Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnerships scheme

A partnership between local residents, businesses and Openreach will make high-speed fibre broadband available to more than 80 premises in Peel Street, Southampton. Openreach, the digital network business responsible for the majority of Britain’s phone and broadband infrastructure, will install new fibre optic cabling and green road-side cabinets equipped with the latest Fibre-to-the-Cabinet (FTTC) technology. High-speed fibre broadband speeds of more than 24Mbps will be available for the first time from a wide range of broadband service providers. The co-funded deal, involving investment by local residents, businesses and Openreach, is expected to see the first residents get the high-speed service around the middle of next year.

A £7,900 grant is coming from Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnerships programme, which has been established to help communities not covered by any private or publicly funded fibre broadband rollout scheme. Eligible communities can apply for match funding towards the cost of a new local fibre network as long as the technology is capable of serving the local school or similar organisation. A local business in Peel Street, which is looking forward to the installation of fibre broadband technology is Polystar Plastics. Dean Gray, sales supervisor at Polystar Plastics, said: “Access to fibre broadband is going to make a significant impact, both to our business and the wider community. I can’t wait to have the Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system installed. Once we start using the new fibre line, the business will benefit from cheaper calls and a system that offers additional functionality. The money saved will be reinvested and not only contribute towards our expansion, but the creation of more local jobs. It will also enable us to further support the nearby nursery, Start Point Northam, which provides local children with free pre-school learning.”

Steve Haines, Managing Director of next generation access for Openreach, said: “It is great to be able to work with proactive communities like the people of Peel Street to find a fibre broadband solution. We are working on hundreds of similar community fibre partnership programmes across the UK, which are bringing faster internet access to areas not covered by any private or public funded fibre broadband rollout plans. Openreach is committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible. More than 96 per cent of households and businesses in Southampton already have access to superfast speeds and, nationally, UK superfast broadband coverage will rise to 95 per cent by the end of 2017. More than 300 communities across the country have already signed up to Openreach’s co-funded Community Fibre Partnerships scheme with more than 150 already enjoying the benefits of superfast broadband."