Date issued: 23 October 2019
The historic St Botolph’s Church in Colchester town centre has become the first place of worship in the Borough to get ultrafast broadband, thanks to an innovative scheme project managed by Colchester Amphora Trading (CATL) – one of the new private companies launched in 2018 by Colchester Borough Council.
This was a challenging installation given the location and historic nature of the building, with engineering firm Scotech taking care to ensure all cables were concealed as far as possible. The church has gone from literally no internet connectivity to state of the art Wi-Fi and gigabit wired connections in the main hall and administrative areas.
The Nationwide Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme (GBVS) is now providing vouchers worth up to £2500 for a small or medium sized business, or £500 for a residential property, to help with the costs of connecting to gigabit broadband.
The scheme is part of a wider government plan to get more homes and businesses connected to full fibre broadband. It builds on the £200 million Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN) programme which gives funding to local areas to boost full fibre delivery.
Councillor Theresa Higgins Colchester Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services said: “Access to high-speed broadband is becoming increasingly important in our daily lives, whether it is for running a successful independent business, or providing exceptional connectivity to Colchester’s valued community facilities, residents and many visitors from the UK and around the world.”
Revd Mark Wallace, the Vicar of St Botolph’s added: “We are delighted at this provision, and the way in which it has been installed in such a professional manner. This is a significant benefit for St Botolph’s Church, and we look forward to sharing this access with others.”
Whilst most UK premises can now get broadband, only 8 per cent have access to gigabit-capable full fibre infrastructure. During 2019-21, the council will be working with its industry partners to deliver a £3.5m expansion of the fibre network, courtesy of funding from the Department for Culture, Media, Sport and Digital.