A £27 million scheme to bring superfast broadband services to homes and businesses across Yorkshire has been declared complete, with more than 95,000 premises now able to access superfast speeds.
The Superfast South Yorkshire (SSY) scheme is a partnership between Openreach, the UK government, the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and four local authorities in the county.
It has been described by Robert Thorburn, Openreach partnership director, as one of the biggest feats of civil engineering undertaken in South Yorkshire in recent years, and is already seeing results, as more than half of properties connected under the scheme have signed up to a superfast service.
However, the work is not complete, as the SSY scheme will now move into a second phase that will see almost 10,000 more homes and businesses upgraded, with the majority of these set to benefit from the availability of gigabit-capable fibre-to-the-premises technology.
The SSY team celebrated the milestone by visiting several of the local businesses that have been able to benefit from superfast broadband as a result of the rollout, including industrial adhesives and sealant manufacturer Delta Adhesives.
Managing director at the firm Peter Atkinson explained that prior to the upgrade, the company could only reach speeds of around 4Mbps, which meant it struggled to access key services such as online banking and had to send invoices out by post rather than use electronic solutions, which was both expensive and time-consuming.
"Having FTTP has enabled us to develop our IT systems and use them to their full potential," Mr Atkinson said. "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 ... I would definitely recommend FTTP to other businesses."
The completion of the SSY scheme was also welcomed by minister for digital and broadband Matt Warman, who said connectivity is high on the government's agenda, with more than £650 million of public investment already committed to the deployment of gigabit-capable full fibre broadband.