Broadband boost for Market Drayton
Fast full fibre broadband will put Market Drayton at the "forefront of high speed communications" and attract new businesses, a councillor said.
The town is one of 11 places around the West Midlands that have been selected by Openreach to receive upgrades to its internet coverage, with gigabit-capable broadband promised in the coming years.
The company will carry out the work without taxpayer subsidy, hoping to fuel a post-coronavirus economic recovery.
Ludlow in south Shropshire is also included on the list, as are Cannock, Leek and Burton upon Trent in Staffordshire.
Town councillor and computer whiz Mike Smith said that the news Market Drayton would benefit came as a surprise, but a very welcome one.
"It certainly is good news. I was aware that we might have had the roll out of the 300 megabit service as BT have been fitting the small extension cables to the existing green cables, but the very high speed broadband was a surprise," he said.
"I think the take up of broadband surprised BT from when we organised the first campaign to get broadband for Market Drayton, and now they seem to have us on their radar.
"It puts Market Drayton at the forefront of high speed communications with speeds of 1,000 megabits per second, normally referred to as one gig.
"This has to be a big attraction to new companies looking to invest in the area. With further expansion happening to the Tern Valley Business Park this will hopefully also attract high tech companies to town together, with well-paid, high tech jobs.
"The new service will bring a fibre connection direct to the house. Currently the connection is via standard copper wires from the green cables to the premises.
"The new system will replace the last part copper connection by fibre. This is also future-proofing, as once fibre is installed, future speed increases only require new technology at each end of the fibre cables.
"Our current broadband has pushed the physical capabilities of copper connections as far as they will go."
Work is expected to get underway in many of the announced locations within the next 12 to 18 months, although due to the size of the build, some places will see work continue into 2024.
Kasam Hussain, Openreach’s partnership director in the West Midlands, said: “We’ve already upgraded tens of thousands of homes and business across the region to full fibre.
"As well as keeping the existing network running throughout the Covid-19 crisis, our engineers have safely and with social distancing in place, continued building the new infrastructure to make sure that as lockdown restrictions ease, our network is there to support families, businesses and the economic recovery.
"‘Full fibre’ is more reliable and more resilient meaning fewer faults and more predictable, consistent speeds."