Rural communities in the North West celebrate broadband milestone

Date published: 11 July 2019


Thousands of the North West’s most rural homes and businesses are looking forward to a faster future thanks to the arrival of high-speed broadband.

Openreach, the UK’s largest telephone and broadband network, is announced on Monday 8 July, that more than 100,000 premises across the UK are now part of its Community Fibre Partnership (CFP) scheme – more than 7,000 of which are from the North West.

Openreach’s CFP scheme involves the company splitting the cost of installing faster broadband with the local community. In many cases, the local contribution can be entirely covered by broadband vouchers, such as the Government’s Rural Gigabit Connectivity Programme.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s Partnership Director for the North, said: “The CFP scheme has been a huge success and there are many communities across the North West delighted to have fast broadband speeds, despite living in some of the most rural areas. It builds on the work we’re already doing ourselves, and in partnership with our council partners across the region.

“Faster broadband is essential for everyday life. There are many advantages of faster speeds, for both home users and businesses, and I’d strongly urge everyone to check if they live in a fibre-enabled area, and if so, get in touch with their broadband provider to find out more about upgrading. If you’re one of the few still not in a plan, now’s the time to find out more about Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership programme and the opportunities it provides.”

Openreach is using a mix of technologies to deliver the CFP programme, but primarily the latest ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology providing broadband speeds of up to 1Gbps. That’s enough bandwidth for a family of four to all stream ultra HD or 4k quality movies or TV simultaneously, without waiting or buffering.

Once Openreach has installed the infrastructure, residents can place an order for the new faster services with a provider of their choice. Openreach provides the telephone and broadband network used by the likes of Zen Internet, in Rochdale; Sky, BT and TalkTalk. So, people are still able to choose from a range of broadband products and packages – they are not restricted to just one supplier.

Across the UK, more than 930 communities have now signed up to the CFP programme, which is available to communities not included in any current roll-out plans for high speed broadband or to those who have fibre broadband but want even faster speeds. Already more than 590 of those are now connected to fibre broadband.

A recent independent report estimates the scheme generates, on average, around £800,000 of benefits to each community. And that having fibre broadband available increases the value of the average property by around £1,700.

Kim Mears, managing director of strategic infrastructure development for Openreach, said: “There are many examples across the North West of how Openreach’s UK-wide Community Fibre Partnership programme is bringing fibre broadband to some of the UK’s most challenging areas where broadband providers struggle to upgrade alone.

“Our ambition is to ‘never say no’ to any community that wants fibre broadband connectivity – we’ll work with any community to find a way forward and we hope that this scheme will encourage even more communities to work with us.”

Openreach’s commitment to the region extends far beyond making faster broadband available. More than 3,400 of our people live and work in the North West. Earlier this year, we also announced that the team is expanding even further with more than 250 new fibre engineers due to be recruited during the next 12 months.

The success of the Community Fibre Partnership scheme is a further boost for the North West, where more than 96 per cent of homes and businesses can already access fibre broadband with speeds of 30Mbps and above.

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