Telford and Wrekin set for connectivity and community boost through partnership

Mike Smith, director of large enterprise and public sector at Virgin Media O2 Business

Telford and Wrekin Council has partnered with Virgin Media O2 Business to deliver a multi-million-pound boost to connectivity infrastructure, digital inclusion and job opportunities in the area.

More than 200 council premises and other public buildings in Telford and Wrekin – including schools and libraries – will be given access to a full fibre network.

The new cables will also lay the foundations for a further 12,000 premises not connected to the network.

As part of its commitment to creating a lasting impact in the communities it serves, Virgin Media O2 Business will provide ultrafast business broadband to up to ten community organisations, create social value initiatives to help those at risk of digital inclusion and support an apprenticeship scheme.

The commitments will be reinforced by a digital inclusion fund to improve access to digital services.

Virgin Media O2 Business employees based in Telford will also deliver at least 100 hours of volunteering time to support digitally excluded residents in improving their online skills.

Councillor Rae Evans, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for finance, governance and customer service said: “At the heart of this partnership is a mission to support digitally excluded residents to get online more easily, and build the skills and confidence needed to do so, through funding and volunteering support, as well as offering apprenticeships and work placements.

“We know that this investment will have a real impact on the lives of people across Telford and Wrekin, and make sure that residents and business alike have access to fast, full fibre broadband, as we continue our commitment to protect, care and invest to create a better borough.”

Mike Smith the director of large enterprise and public sector at Virgin Media O2 Business, added: “We’re so proud to be working with the council to boost its digital infrastructure and help enable more local people to embrace the potential that connectivity brings. Today, digital connectivity isn’t a ‘nice-to-have’ – it’s an essential.

“We’re looking forward to seeing this project make huge strides to tackle digital exclusion in Telford and Wrekin, giving people access to new opportunities, educational resources and keeping them connected when they need it.”