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BT boss determined to bring faster broadband to county
ONE of BT’s senior directors says he will “not stop” once 90 per cent of Worcestershire gets superfast broadband – and insists he wants to go higher.
Bill Murphy, the man in charge of a £20 million project to bring faster connections to 55,000 properties, says he aims to reach 95 per cent if possible.
He has cited the example of Cornwall, where 95 or 96 per cent of the landscape will get superfast coverage by 2016 after a serious investment between the local authority and BT.
Mr Murphy, managing director of the Next Generation Access project, said: “Nobody wants to stop at 90 per cent for Worcestershire – we want to reach that level and then aim to go higher.
“In Cornwall, we are committed to delivering superfast broadband to 95 per cent of homes and as far as we are concerned, now we’ve signed the contract in Worcestershire we want to get started.
“We are literally at the starting point for what we want to achieve – it’s a big challenge in front of us.
“But we don’t want to stop at 90 per cent – we want to do more.” Fay Hildred, who runs Wild Wood Rooms Ltd, a conferencing centre in Worcester, which does have superfast internet, said: “Having that reliability makes such a big difference here – it means we can step up all our administrative work.”
Under the deal, the Government has agreed to fund £3.35 million, while County Hall has committed £8.5 million from taxpayers.
The rest of the £20 million kitty is from BT, which will bring speeds of 80 megabytes per second to 90 per cent of the county by June 2016.
At the moment, more than 30 per cent of the county is estimated to not have access to superfast speeds, which is anything at or above 24 megabytes per second.
Council chiefs say major urban centres like Worcester and Redditch have it, but rural and outlying areas get nowhere near those speeds.
Three years ago, the Government set councils a target of getting 90 per cent of their areas covered by superfast speeds.
Worcestershire County Council went one further by including 90 per cent of businesses – and believes that pledge is unique.
Cornwall remains the UK’s leading area for web connections – with at least 95 per cent of the landscape getting access by the start of 2016.