Merseyside gets connected

A multi million pound partnership, which will make superfast fibre broadband available to thousands more businesses and homes in Merseyside, today reached a major milestone.

More than 11,000 Merseyside premises now have access to fibre broadband as a result of the Merseyside Connected partnership between Merseyside local authorities and BT which was signed late last year.

Building on commercial roll-out programmes, the partnership aims to reach 98 per cent of Merseyside businesses and homes by the end of July 2016. BT is contributing £6 million towards the cost of the project, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is contributing £5.46 million and a further £4.4 million is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

This news comes as the Government today announced that more than 1 million UK homes and businesses now have access to superfast broadband as a result of the Broadband Delivery UK rollout. Up to 40,000 premises are now gaining access every week and the programme will extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.

Most of the Merseyside Connected partnership’s early deployment has taken place in North Liverpool (including Aintree, Anfield and Everton), Netherley, the Simonswood and Huyton areas of Knowsley, South Sefton (including Waterloo) and, Birkenhead, Claughton and Irby on the Wirral.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Liverpool City Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “The partnership has made strong progress since it was announced in the autumn of last year. Already, local businesses and homes are seeing the benefit and, in the months ahead, we will be rolling out this technology to many more areas.

“Superfast fibre broadband will make a major contribution to the future success of Merseyside. It offers fantastic opportunities. Local firms can use fibre broadband to help their business grow and find new customers, whilst households can benefit from enhanced on-line learning and leisure, and access to services.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “The roll-out of fibre broadband is a major, multi million pound vote of confidence in the future of Merseyside. The network which is being created now will have a lasting benefit for many years to come.

“Fibre broadband is transforming the way we live and work. The success of Merseyside Connected shows the power of partnerships. By working together, the public and private sectors are able to overcome many of the technical and commercial challenges and make fibre broadband much more widely available.”

For local businesses, the new fibre network underpins the introduction of many new services and applications. Big business applications driven by new ‘cloud’ services will be within reach of enterprises of all sizes. Computer back up, storage and processing will be faster, and the use of high-quality videoconferencing becomes viable.

Further benefits of faster broadband include users being able to use multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and send and receive large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. It means that on-line gaming, watching BBC iPlayer or downloading films and music becomes much quicker and without annoying ‘buffering’ or screen freeze.

Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, are building the new fibre network. Fibre to the cabinet is the main technology deployed. It can deliver downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 20 Mbps*.

The new network is available to all broadband service providers on an equivalent basis so Merseyside households and businesses will be able to benefit from highly competitive products and pricing from more than 140 communications providers.

Pictured: Councillor Kennedy and Bill Murphy

Liverpool Waterfront