Project Jennifer benefits from superfast broadband

High-speed fibre broadband is coming to Merseyside, following a multi-million pound partnership project between Merseyside Local Authorities, UK Government and BT.

Merseyside Connected – a partnership of five councils led by Liverpool City Council – builds on BT’s on-going commercial fibre deployment across the Liverpool City Region, and aims to provide a high speed broadband network to an additional 43,000 premises in the area. This means the vast majority of Merseyside – around 98% of homes and businesses – will have access to fibre broadband by the end of July 2016.

The Merseyside Connected project is supporting the council partnership’s aim to focus on enabling superfast broadband to small and medium enterprises and help boost the local economy. The three-year programme brings fibre broadband to more of Merseyside and to date 37 cabinets serving 4,200 customers have now been installed by BT Openreach, BT’s local network business.

On Tuesday, 1 July, Project Jennifer in Everton marked the switch-on of one of the first cabinets to be completed, off Great Homer Street

The cabinet will connect superfast broadband to 91 business premises – but this will increase as Project Jennifer is delivered, with 500 new homes, 80,000 sqft of new retail space, 80,000 square feet of employment units, a large supermarket, a new health centre and a market all planned.

Councillor Malcolm Kennedy, Cabinet member for regeneration at Liverpool City Council, said: “This substantial investment is absolutely vital if we are to make sure the city does not get left behind in the race to build technology infrastructure.

“The aim is to make sure that businesses are able to take advantage of faster speeds which means they have the technology to handle growing needs and enable them to win more business and custom.”

BT was chosen to partner with Liverpool City Council – along with Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral Councils – following a thorough procurement process. BT is contributing £6 million towards the overall cost of deployment in “non-commercial” areas while European funding (ERDF) is contributing £4.4 million, with £5.46 million coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) fund.

Bill Murphy, BT managing director for the new generation of communications, said: “Fibre broadband and the speeds it brings are crucial to people and businesses in Merseyside.

“BT and Liverpool Council have worked hard this month at the International Festival for Business to demonstrate how Liverpool people will make the most of this fantastic technology.

“From finance systems in the cloud to new ways of caring for people in hospitals like Alder Hey and entertainment in people’s homes, fibre broadband can change people’s lives for the better.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, said: “This is great news and marks the ongoing transformation of broadband on Merseyside, which is on track to deliver access to superfast speeds to 98 per cent of the area by July 2016.

“We understand how important access to superfast broadband is – the UK already does more business online than any other European country, and the widespread access to superfast broadband that this scheme will deliver will provide a tremendous boost to the local economy.”

Check availability of fibre broadband at: http://www.merseysideconnected.org/about/superfast/broadband-coverage