Superfast South Yorkshire (SFSY) celebrated the successful completion of their £27 million contract to deliver faster broadband to residents and businesses across South Yorkshire.
Nearly 95,000 businesses and residents can now access superfast speeds as a result of the Superfast South Yorkshire programme - a partnership between the four South Yorkshire local authorities, Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, UK Government and Openreach.
The upgrades have been well received, with more than half (55,000) of the newly enabled homes and businesses signing up for a service so far.
In addition to the success of the first phase of the roll-out, a second phase will see almost 10,000 more homes and businesses upgraded, with the majority set to benefit from Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology, capable of blistering speeds of up to 1Gbps (Gigabit per second).
Minister for Digital and Broadband, Matt Warman, said, ‘It is fantastic to see that nearly 95,000 residents and businesses in South Yorkshire are now reaping the benefits of superfast speeds.
‘Connectivity is high on the UK Government's agenda. We want to deliver world-class, gigabit-capable broadband across the country as soon as possible and have already committed more than £650 million for full fibre roll-out.’
The team celebrated this huge achievement by visiting local businesses already benefitting from ultrafast broadband speeds including Delta Adhesives who manufacture and sell own-brand and bespoke industrial adhesives and sealants.
Peter Atkinson, Managing Director of Delta Adhesives, said, ‘We had very slow speeds of around 4Mbps which made uploading and downloading data very difficult. We had limited capacity to issue electronic invoices and often had to send them by post which was both expensive and time-consuming. Online banking was also a nightmare to use, often freezing or crashing which made us very reluctant to use it.
‘Having FTTP has enabled us to develop our IT systems and use them to their full potential. We’ve moved to an integrated VOIP telephony system which means as soon as a customer calls us their account is immediately accessible. We’ve also tightened security by improving our on-site and off-site back-up and business continuity arrangements and enhancing our premises alarm systems.
‘We are currently re-building our website and can easily email brochures, product guides and price lists now and we will be saying goodbye to the franking machine! I would definitely recommend FTTP to other businesses.’
The team also went to meet Pete Staniforth, Director of Vanshades. ‘We manufacture ‘Window Pods®’ which totally change the look of a camper van from drab dreary curtains to colourful thermal blackout blinds, we also supply other VW campervan accessories.
‘Our old system hindered our business greatly. We only had one phone line and if the line was engaged callers were redirected to my mobile which really wasn’t workable. Now have a VOIP telephony system in place and have moved to the cloud, as well as benefiting from remote monitored security to protect our premises. As a lifestyle business we use social media – a vitally important marketing tool – and now we can use it much faster and therefore more regularly. The FTTP connection is saving us time, money and most importantly is enabling us to respond to the needs of our customer more efficiently.’
Matt Gladstone, Executive Director for Place at Barnsley Council and SFSY project sponsor, said: ‘It’s a real achievement that the first phase of Superfast South Yorkshire has been completed.
‘We’ve seen a real appetite from a significant number of homes and businesses in South Yorkshire, and we expect that more people will want to take advantage of some of the fastest broadband speeds in the UK.
‘This will enable communities across South Yorkshire to increase their connectivity and access a range of online services. It’s a fantastic project that provides the opportunity for people to be digital first, not only for this generation, but also for generations to come.’
Robert Thorburn, Openreach partnership director, said, ‘Openreach has delivered one of biggest feats of civil engineering undertaken in South Yorkshire in recent years.
‘The Superfast South Yorkshire team and all the Openreach engineers who have worked alongside them should be very proud of making this happen and for the overall success of the programme so far. Our work in South Yorkshire continues and we look forward to bringing better broadband to thousands more residents and businesses.’
The faster speeds are not automatically available when a structure is upgraded. To benefit from faster speeds, businesses and residents first need to check online to see if their area has been upgraded, before getting in touch with their broadband provider to arrange an upgrade. To find out more visit www.superfastsouthyorkshire.co.uk
If you cannot upgrade, or require gigabit capable speeds, you may be eligible for a voucher to help pay for a connection. Please visit https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk to find out more.