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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Grant scheme appoints Exascale to install full fibre broadband scheme for Telford businesses

Plans to connect businesses in the Hortonwood area of Telford through a new gigabit full fibre broadband network have taken a major step forward.

Cllr Richard Overton with Thomas Bibb, chief executive and founder of Exascale
Cllr Richard Overton with Thomas Bibb, chief executive and founder of Exascale

Local company Exascale has been appointed via the Marches & Gloucestershire Business Broadband Grant Scheme to install connectivity to local businesses.

Work will start in the coming weeks on the £135,000 broadband infrastructure development and improvement project along a route culminating at the Telford & Wrekin Council-owned business campus at Leasows Court, on the 54-acre Hortonwood West industrial park.

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Funding for the project has come from the European Regional Development Fund via the Marches and Gloucestershire Business Broadband Grant scheme, with Telford & Wrekin Council contributing towards the costs and cash flow of the project.

Cllr Richard Overton, the council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety and Customer Services, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting a project that will provide high speed reliable broadband infrastructure to some of our local companies in the next few weeks, with many more able  to benefit in the coming months.

“This underlines our commitment at Telford & Wrekin Council to ensuring the best speeds possible for our communities. This latest investment will enable SMEs in this area of the borough to have full access to fibre broadband, which will play a major role in our business development growth plans in the coming years.”

With work due to start during early June, it will involve installing tens of kilometres of underground ducting and optical fibre cabling. This will provide an affordable, future-proof, full fibre platform for SME businesses as part of the council’s ambition to see high bandwidth internet connectivity across the borough through commercial delivery and funded programmes.

Exascale, based at Trench Lock 3 in Telford, was founded in 2010 and is an alternative network provider of gigabit full fibre networks for homes and businesses in the West Midlands. It aims to cover the whole of Telford and Wrekin by 2023, ensuring Exascale fibre runs past 2.5 million homes and businesses by 2030. At the same time, the company expects to be hiring an additional 100 full time staff over the next three years.

Thomas Bibb, chief executive and founder of Exascale, said:

“Myself and the Exascale team, particularly given we are based in Telford, are very excited to have been chosen by the Marches & Gloucestershire Business Broadband Grant Scheme and Telford & Wrekin Council to install and deliver a Gigabit Full Fibre network providing access for numerous businesses.” 

A spokesperson for Enterprise Telford added:

“We are really excited that the Marches & Gloucestershire Business Broadband Grant Scheme has enabled us to support a solution for our local businesses by providing full fibre infrastructure in a key business area. 

“This final commitment will mean the full draw down of our allocation from the scheme topped up with a contribution from Telford & Wrekin Council towards the cost of the project. This will enable the businesses involved to capitalise on the many benefits associated with having full fibre. Furthermore, it’s brilliant that one of our own local companies will actually be delivering the full fibre solution as we continue to support their growth plans”.  

Telford & Wrekin Council was allocated £200,000 of ERDF Funding in a second phase from the Marches & Gloucester Business Broadband Grant scheme to enable businesses to access improved broadband. 

Demand has been high with seven projects, including Leasows Court, requiring a total commitment of £244,526. This meant a £44,500 shortfall, which Telford & Wrekin Council has agreed to plug to ensure local businesses don’t lose out on the available ERDF funding.

The first phase of the scheme saw six Telford & Wrekin businesses accessing £96,322 of grant funding to improve their broadband services. 

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