MP welcomes the completion of the latest rural broadband voucher scheme

Published date
 (L to R)Nigel Huddleston, Member of Parliament for Mid-Worcestershire,  Councillor Marc Bayliss, Worcestershire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Infrastructure and Skills with representatives of Charlton Village and Open Reach

Around 235 premises in the village of Charlton, near Evesham, can now access full fibre broadband. 

Nigel Huddleston, the MP for mid-Worcestershire, joined residents and representatives from Worcestershire County Council and Openreach in the village to celebrate.

The scheme has been spearheaded by Worcestershire County Council as part of the Government’s Project Gigabit Voucher Scheme and Openreach as the commercial operator.

Download speeds in the village have historically been much lower than the UK average and now speeds of up to 1Gbps are being reported after the new cables were laid.

The community has also benefitted from Worcestershire County Council’s voucher top-up funding, which went a long way to support the successful completion of the project.

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid-Worcestershire, said: “Connecting rural communities is a major step forward in the digital infrastructure of Mid Worcestershire. Being such a rural constituency, I know just how many of my constituents will benefit from full fibre broadband. This could not be more true for residents of communities like Charlton, and I am pleased to see the Government's commitment to these rural areas through the Project Gigabit Voucher Scheme."

Councillor Marc Bayliss, Worcestershire County Council Cabinet Member with Responsibility for the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills said: “Our digital infrastructure has been transformed through a combination of private and public investment to futureproof the Worcestershire network. This is particularly evident in rural areas like Charlton, bringing huge benefits to both residents and businesses. 
“I am proud to be able to share this occasion with the local MP, allowing him to see firsthand, the value the improvements are bringing to residents and businesses enabling them to embrace modern digital services and the opportunities that come with it.”

Martin Williams, Openreach’s Regional Director, said: 
“We’re proud of our work to connect Charlton. It was clear from the outset that this community really wanted fibre broadband and they rallied together to make it happen. I’d like to thank our engineers and the local community for their help in making things run as smoothly as possible. It was good to go there and hear about the difference our work is making.

“Our investment across the region continues at pace with more than 120,000 homes and businesses across Worcestershire already able to connect to Openreach’s full fibre network. We’re determined to deliver great service which helps communities thrive and supports people to work from home easily, keep in touch with their loved ones and build connections and opportunities.”

Roger Davies, one of the Charlton project team said, “Having decent broadband to keep people connected and allow people to work effectively from home is an amazing boost for the Parish.”

Worcestershire County Council invested up to £2.1 million across the County, including £62,000 towards the Charlton project to “top up” the vouchers provided via the UK Government’s £200 million Rural Gigabit Connectivity (RGC) programme, which helps homes and businesses in the most remote locations to access ultrafast broadband.

The national RGC programme has supported over 40 hard-to-reach communities across the county, with Worcestershire securing over £7 million of additional external funding, to make faster and more reliable broadband available to around 5,500 premises. Thanks to a proactive approach by the County Council, Worcestershire is amongst the leading areas in the country in terms of the value and number of vouchers secured.

For more information on Worcestershire’s digital connectivity projects visit the Digital Connectivity pages of the County Council website.