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The number of premises that have access to superfast broadband, delivered by Superfast Staffordshire:
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Quick as a Flash - superfast broadband is delivered to UK's highest village

A Staffordshire community, famed for being the highest village in the UK, is celebrating another high point.

Thanks to Superfast Staffordshire - the broadband partnership spearheaded by Staffordshire County Council and BT - residents and businesses in Flash are now enjoying some of the fastest broadband speeds in the country.

Despite its remote location - 463 metres above sea level - installing fibre optic broadband in the village posed no unexpected challenges for engineers from Openreach, BT's local network business, who are rolling out the technology for Superfast Staffordshire.

The arrival of high-speed fibre broadband has been welcomed by local businesses and residents in Flash, where the technology is now available to around 40 premises.

Lynsay Jackson, owner of Flash Bar Stores, was one of the first people to upgrade to fibre broadband. Now she's enjoying broadband download speeds of around 40 megabits per second (Mbps) - around 80 times faster than the half a megabit she used to get.

The shop and café is a popular haunt for passing cyclists and ramblers as well as locals, providing them with supplies, refreshments and free wi-fi access. Another service at the shop, a webcam, has also benefited from the arrival of high-speed fibre broadband; it gives visitors a valuable insight into the local weather, especially during the winter months, when it can be changeable and challenging.

Lynsay, who set up the business six years ago, said: "Since upgrading to fibre broadband, I've noticed the streaming on the webcam is much better. Now I've got fibre, I plan to use social media much more as it's so much quicker to upload updates and I'm looking at redeveloping our website and adding video links. "Superfast broadband has already helped me in practical ways. Ordering supplies is so much easier and faster. I even watched a self-help video about filling in company tax returns the other day - something that would have been impossible before."

More than 65,000 households across the county can now access faster fibre broadband as a result of Superfast Staffordshire.

Staffordshire County Council's economy leader Mark Winnington said: "The Superfast Staffordshire programme is all about ensuring all of our communities are connected to faster broadband speeds. People shouldn't have to miss out just because of where they live. "It is rewarding to see another wave of residents have improved opportunities for learning, leisure, employment and access to services. Flash is the highest village in Britain - but that's been no barrier to our Superfast Staffordshire team."

Steve Henderson, BT's regional director for broadband partnerships, said: "Rolling out faster fibre broadband to the more remote parts of the county can sometimes prove more challenging and complex for our engineering teams, but the upgrade work in Flash went extremely smoothly. "When BT's commercial fibre broadband programme is included with the Superfast Staffordshire roll-out it means that fibre is now available to more than 437,000 premises across the county."

Fibre broadband has also recently become more widely available in Alrewas, Audley, Creswell, Fazeley, Heath Hayes and Perton as part of the Superfast Staffordshire programme. People can follow the progress of the roll-out via the Superfast Staffordshire website: www.superfaststaffordshire.co.uk and via Twitter @superfaststaffs and Facebook. Once an area has 'gone live', local people will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps*. Upgrades do not happen automatically - it's an 'opt in' service - but because the Openreach network is 'open', residents and businesses wanting to upgrade have a choice of fibre broadband providers, with more than 140 companies now operating in the UK.

 

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