The people of Walsall are set to be some of the first beneficiaries in the country of super-fast broadband.
The service, which is being provided by BT, has been hailed as a key component in the town’s ongoing regeneration and could lead to the creation of thousands of news jobs.
John Dovey, BT’s West Midlands regional director, said: “This is an exciting development in the region’s fast moving broadband story. Households and business switching to super-fast broadband will soon be experiencing the internet as they have never experienced it before.”
“The arrival of BT fibre-based broadband in Walsall will support local jobs and the local economy and is a vital part of BT’s broadband plans for the region.”
The fibre to street cabinets offers download speeds of up to 40Mb/s, potentially rising to 60Mb/s in the future, and upload capability of up to 10Mb/s.
The new broadband is part of the borough’s vision to develop a so-called ‘Gigaport’ around its new college that will include office space, a Business Incubation centre, as well as a hotel, live/work space and a health and sports facility - all built around the latest high-speed communications technology.
Brian Lowe, chairman of Walsall Regeneration Company, said: “Gigaport is a major transformational project that will help us to attract new industries, create high quality jobs and better equip Walsall to compete in a global market place.
“We are delighted that the infrastructure roll-out has gone smoothly and we can now move forward with bringing the developers and investors on board to make this exciting scheme a reality.”
Coun Adrian Andrew, Walsall Council deputy leader and cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Gigaport is potentially the most significant of Walsall’s strategic transformational projects. It is designed to create a dynamic, sustainable 21st century economy that will benefit all of the town’s diverse communities and give students and professionals confidence to remain and share in Walsall’s future.
“The benefit of the Gigaport technology will also spread to the people of Walsall, with the capability to provide enhanced interactive services to the home, as well as promoting e-learning and online access in addition to access to 21st century healthcare services. A world class communications platform will enable a better quality of customer service and increased efficiency in public service delivery. It is tremendous that we have been able to work in partnership with a private sector organisation like BT and shows that Walsall is open for business and bucking the national trend by attracting this investment”