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More than 350,000 homes and businesses in Liverpool City Region can now order some of the fastest, most reliable broadband in Europe thanks to a multi-million investment by Openreach.
But there are concerns that thousands of residents and businesses could be missing out on reaping the benefits.
The company has spent more than £105 million locally so far to build a new ultrafast, ultra-reliable Full Fibre network in locations such as Birkenhead, Childwall, Claughton, Liverpool, Prescot, Sefton Park, Rock Ferry, St Helens and Wallasey.
The new technology is up to ten times faster than the average UK broadband connection and around five times more reliable than the old copper-based network it’s replacing – but thousands of residents have yet to upgrade, with just 23 per cent of people adopting the service where it’s available, lagging behind the UK average of 26 per cent.
Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s Partnership Director for Scotland and the North West of England, said, “Research shows that this new network will give businesses an edge and provide families and home-workers future-proof connectivity, no matter what life throws at us next.
“Our investment across Liverpool City Region continues at pace, and we’re determined to deliver a great service which helps this community thrive and supports people to work from home easily, keep in touch with their loved ones and build connections and opportunities.
“Gigabit-capable broadband can have a huge impact on people’s lives and it’s great for the economy but upgrades aren’t automatic. People need to place an order with their chosen providers to get connected and we’ll do the rest. Our network offers the widest choice of providers such as BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Vodafone and Zen – which means people have lots of choice and can get a great deal.”
“Even if you already have a decent enough service, it’s worth checking if you can upgrade, because full fibre is the future, and it provides the best broadband experience at great value for money. There’ll be no more worrying that your video call might freeze, or your files are failing to upload when everyone’s at home competing for bandwidth at the same time.”
Lorna Rogers, Assistant Director, Mayoral Programme Delivery, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said, “We are pleased to see further investment taking place in gigabit-capable broadband across the Liverpool City Region.
“These investments will provide a greater choice for our residents and businesses, which will ultimately help to bring the cost of connections down in some of our more deprived areas.
“Stimulated by our own investments, through our Joint Venture – LCR Connect – a broader range of providers operating across the City Region will help reduce levels of digital exclusion.
“We continue to actively encourage telecoms providers to work alongside LCR Connect to help deliver our ambitions to be the most connected city region in the country.”
A report by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr) shows that connecting everyone in the North West to Full Fibre broadband would create a £5.5 billion boost to the local economy, by unlocking smarter ways of working, better public services and greater opportunities for the next-generation of home-grown businesses.
Openreach has announced plans to invest in Full Fibre broadband for the majority of premises in dozens of towns and villages across Liverpool City Region, including Aintree, Formby, Huyton, Rainford, and Stoneycroft.
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