£10m Broadband Boost for South Yorkshire

Around 9,000 homes and businesses across South Yorkshire are set to gain access to some of the fastest broadband speeds available in the UK.

It’s after a £10 million extension to the Superfast South Yorkshire broadband programme was awarded to Openreach, the UK’s largest telephone and broadband network.

Download speeds of up to a Gigabit (Gbps) will be available to thousands of homes across the region, as well as several important business zones including Denaby Industrial Estate in Doncaster, Moor Valley in Sheffield, Steel Street in Rotherham and Wharncliffe Business Park in Barnsley.

As well as adding even more reliability and resilience to broadband connections and making them less likely to drop out, Full Fibre offers speeds of up to 1 Gbps – about 24 times faster than the current UK average of 46Mbps.

For businesses, this provides even greater capacity for multiple fixed and mobile devices and things like video conferencing, cloud computing, shared workspaces, hosted applications and online data storage. The fibre connection will future proof the network for decades to come and ensure that South Yorkshire remains competitive on the national and world stage.

Matt Gladstone, Executive Director for Place at Barnsley Council and SFSY Project Sponsor, said:

“This is fantastic news for South Yorkshire and confirms our commitment to providing residents and businesses with the opportunity to access the latest technology.

“A lot of fantastic work has already taken place to make high-speed fibre broadband available to thousands of homes and businesses, many for the first time. But we’re not finished yet. This next phase will connect people living in areas across the region that don’t yet have access to fibre networks. Once installed Full Fibre will not only provide ultrafast speeds but will also future-proof the network for years to come.”

Detailed planning and survey work is already underway to make Full Fibre available as part of this latest phase of work. It’s expected that the first areas will be connected early in 2020. Engineering work is set to continue for a further 12 months with all 9,000 homes and businesses able to access the network by Spring 2021.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s Partnership Director in the North, says:

“We are delighted to have been chosen to take our partnership in South Yorkshire even further. Making sure that homes and businesses across the region have the connectivity they require is vital for the long-term prosperity and economic health of an area. This second phase of work means that thousands of local homes and businesses will soon have access to some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.”

Superfast South Yorkshire is already in the process of making superfast broadband (speeds up to 80Mbps) available to around 95,000 homes and businesses. So far, more than 750 green roadside cabinets have been connected to the network, making fibre broadband available to the most rural areas, many for the first time.

Work carried out as part of the Superfast South Yorkshire programme is in addition to Openreach’s own commercial rollout across the wider region. More than 95 per cent of homes and businesses across Yorkshire can already access superfast broadband and that number increases daily.

Openreach provides the telephone and broadband network used by the likes of BT, Sky and TalkTalk. So this means business owners will still be able to choose from a wide range of broadband products and packages – they are not restricted to just one supplier.

The announcement is a further boost for South Yorkshire, after Barnsley recently joined Sheffield in being able to benefit from Openreach’s ultrafast broadband rollout, using a technology called Gfast that provides speeds of up to 330 Mbps.

Earlier this year, Yorkshire heard it would benefit from Openreach’s unprecedented recruitment drive: more than 220 new trainee engineers are being employed across the region – bringing the total workforce to 2,200 – to help deliver ultrafast broadband.

Superfast South Yorkshire was formed in September 2014 as local authorities joined forces with BT Group in a £22 million deal to extend the availability of high-speed, fibre broadband, including £4.8 million of additional funding specifically aimed at providing FTTP to businesses. The project is jointly funded by Sheffield City Region LEP, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund and BT Group.

Phase three of the programme will see a further £10m investment, including £3.2 million from council partners, £550,000 from the government’s BDUK broadband delivery programme, as well as £7 million from Openreach.

More information about the Superfast South Yorkshire programme at www.superfastsouthyorkshire.co.uk

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