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Issue:- Saturday, 15 August 2015

384,000 homes and businesses can now get high speed broadband

ALMOCT 50,000 homes and businesses in Liverpool City Region, Merseyside, have been reached by the Government's nationwide roll out of superfast broadband, figures published Wednesday, 12 August 2015, revealed.  More than 384,000 have been reached across the North West, with Merseyside Connected making high speed fibre broadband available to 49,678 premises across the local authority areas of Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral.  The Government roll out is delivering superfast access; internet speeds greater than 24 Mbps; to those properties not covered by existing commercial networks and is on track to take superfast access to 95% of the UK by 2017. More than 4 out of 5 UK premises already have access to superfast speeds, and the roll out is currently reaching an additional 40,000 homes and businesses every week. This comes following news last week that BT will make up to £129m available to extend the Government led roll out of superfast broadband. 

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said:- "Reaching 3 million properties is a huge achievement and I'm delighted that this includes more than 384,000 in the North West. Our roll out of superfast broadband is transforming lives up and down the UK as every day thousands more homes and businesses are gaining access to superfast speeds. It's fantastic to see that the roll out of superfast broadband is now delivering for customers and for the Taxpayer. The levels of people taking up superfast broadband in areas where we invested public money are beyond our expectations, and BT is now reimbursing the public purse to deliver further coverage across the UK. This now means that BT will be providing up to £129m cashback for some of the most hard to reach areas."

The additional funding will be made available to local authorities to reinvest the money in providing further superfast broadband coverage to even more homes and businesses, and much earlier than originally planned.

Councillor Gary Millar, Cabinet member for business and enterprise at Liverpool City Council, the lead local authority for Merseyside Connected, said:- "I'm delighted Merseyside Connected has reached almost 50,000 premises across our region. Each month, even more green fibre enabled street cabinets are being installed by Openreach engineers across the local authorities of Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral. This is a really significant development for the people of Merseyside, to ensure the region can thrive business wise in the digital age, but also to ensure residents can access valuable services and information online, find the best deals on products and services, and tap into all the latest entertainment and social media."

Bill Murphy, BT's managing director for next generation access, said:- "This marks another very important stage in the rollout of an exciting technology, which is transforming the lives of communities across Merseyside and the UK as a whole. BT's multi billion pound investment in superfast broadband through its involvement in partnerships and its own commercial programme has already made fibre broadband available to many hundreds of thousands of households and businesses in Merseyside and the numbers continue to grow rapidly. Our engineers are rolling out the technology at a world class pace, reaching thousands more premises every week. Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come."

The following sets out the numbers of homes and businesses reached by the rollout to date in the North West:-

►  Cheshire - 80,759
►  Cumbria - 90,408
►  Greater Manchester - 30,033
►  Lancashire - 133,789
►  Merseyside - 49,678

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