A new deal totalling in excess of £28 million has been announced by CSW Broadband which will take ultrafast broadband to thousands more homes and businesses in some of the region’s most remote places. When this phase of the roll-out is complete, more than 98 per cent of premises in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire will have access to superfast fibre broadband. The CSW Broadband partnership has chosen BT as its co-funding network partner to deliver the latest part of its ambitious roll-out, following a rigorous procurement process.
The High Sheriff’s room in the Judges’ House – dating back to 1816 – at Warwick’s Old Shire Hall provided a fitting setting for the historic announcement. More details about the first locations to benefit are due to be announced early next month. This part of the programme – known as Contract 3, Part 1 – will be delivered by Openreach, Britain’s largest digital network business, using a mixture of technologies, including Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology, capable of delivering download speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second (Gbps) and upload speeds of up to 220Mbps. The new investment will enable nearly 15,500 more premises in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire to access superfast fibre broadband, with the majority of them – almost 90 per cent – able to get ultrafast speeds.
The CSW Broadband programme is spearheaded by Warwickshire County Council and BT, and is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. The latest phase of the roll-out includes around £2 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with additional funding from the three upper tier local authorities for Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire, Warwickshire District and Borough Councils, as well as BT and BDUK.
Engineers from Openreach will begin work on this phase in Spring next year. The roll-out is expected to reach the first premises in around 12 months’ time, with all the upgrades due to be completed by the end of 2019. The new contract builds on the multi-million pound first two contracts of the CSW Broadband programme.
Councillor Peter Butlin, Deputy Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “This announcement is great news. When the CSW Broadband project started, just over 73 per cent of premises in Warwickshire could achieve speeds of 24Mbps or above. Today we’re looking forward to more than 98 per cent being able to achieve what would at one time have been unthinkable speeds of over 30Mbps. The CSW Broadband team is actively seeking funding to take the fibre network still further.”
Steve Haines, Managing Director of next generation access for Openreach, said: “This major investment is a vital new chapter in the story which began nearly three and a half years ago, when the partnership began connecting its first premises in Snitterfield. CSW Broadband is already a huge success and now we’re set to go even further as it reaches into some of the region’s most remote areas. The roll-out of high-speed broadband across Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull has transformed the way people get online which is why we’re committed to making this exciting technology as widely available as possible.”
Because the fibre broadband network is being installed by Openreach, households and businesses have a wide choice of fibre broadband providers. Upgrades do not happen automatically. Local people wanting to benefit need to place an order with their chosen fibre broadband provider. Existing underground ducting is used wherever possible, minimising disruption and the need to dig up roads and pavements.
Updates on the roll-out are available from: www.cswbroadband.org.uk