Express & Star

£26 million push sees full fibre broadband network available across Staffordshire

More than 85,000 homes and businesses across Staffordshire can now get some of the fastest, most reliable broadband in Europe thanks to a £26 million investment by Openreach.

An Openreach worker and van

More areas are set to benefit, as engineers are now starting work to extend the full fibre network to most homes and businesses in Stafford, Burton upon Trent, Uttoxeter, Leek and Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Full fibre is up to 16 times faster than the average UK broadband connection and around five times more reliable than the old copper-based network it is replacing.

Kasam Hussain, Openreach’s partnership director for the Midlands, said: “Research shows that this new network will give businesses an edge and provide families and home workers with future-proof connectivity, no matter what life throws at us next.

“Our investment across Staffordshire continues at pace, and we’re determined to deliver a great service which helps this community thrive and supports people to work from home easily, keep in touch with their loved ones and build connections and opportunities."

Kasam added: “Gigabit-capable broadband can have a huge impact on people’s lives and it’s great for the economy, but upgrades aren’t automatic. People need to place an order with their chosen providers to get connected and we’ll do the rest. Our network offers the widest choice of providers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – which means people have lots of choice and can get a great deal.

“Even if you already have a decent enough service, it’s worth checking if you can upgrade, because full fibre is the future, and it provides the best broadband experience at great value for money. There’ll be no more worrying that your video call might freeze, or your files are failing to upload when everyone’s at home competing for bandwidth at the same time.”

A report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research shows that connecting everyone in the West Midlands to full fibre broadband would create a £4.5 billion boost to the local economy, by unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next generation of home-grown businesses.

Openreach has worked closely with Staffordshire County Council for many years, particularly its highways team, and as partners in the county council’s broadband programme.

The council’s cabinet member for environment, infrastructure and climate change, Councillor Simon Tagg, said: “It’s excellent news that full fibre broadband rollout is continuing at pace across Staffordshire and we’d urge people to check availability in their area and get connected. Full fibre speeds really do make a difference.

“As a result of our work with Openreach, our Superfast Staffordshire programme enabled 97 per cent of county properties to connect to faster broadband speeds and has been a huge success. Full fibre connection is the important next step.

“Faster broadband is an essential for everyone’s day-to-day living, enabling people to access health, education, banking and leisure services and more. It is also critical for business operations, growth and increased productivity.

“The county council is now putting in place a long-term digital strategy for Staffordshire. This will focus on gigabit technology provision for all communities, maximising the benefits of 5G roll-out, connecting isolated areas and growing our digital economy.”

Openreach has announced plans to invest in full fibre broadband for most premises in dozens of towns and villages across Staffordshire, including Shenstone, Trentham, Yarnfield and Yoxall.