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Friday, 23 February

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A national organisation which has campaigned for better broadband for rural businesses is itself now benefitting from faster fibre technology, thanks to the Superfast Staffordshire partnership led by Staffordshire County Council and BT.

The CLA – formerly the Country Land and Business Association – which supports thousands of farmers and other rural businesses around England and Wales, has recently upgraded to faster fibre broadband at its Midlands headquarters in Woodseaves near Stafford.

The Knightly and Woodseaves areas are the latest to go live as part of Superfast Staffordshire, which is part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

Superfast Staffordshire has enabled more than 90,000 households and businesses to connect to fast broadband speeds. The figure rises to around 465,000 when combined with commercial fibre roll-outs by private sector companies, such as BT.

Caroline Bedell, CLA Midlands regional director, said: "Fast, affordable broadband is no longer a luxury – it is essential if we are to play a full part in modern society, economically and socially.

“Our years of campaigning for universal access have not just been based on the needs of our members, but also on our own experience. We are therefore delighted to become part of the Staffordshire Superfast network, which means that in common with our other regional offices, we can now share data and use the same programs via our London based servers.

“This means more efficient, cost-effective technology, with increased speed, greater choice and added resilience that ultimately benefits our members.”

Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth leader, said: "People and business in rural areas should not be restricted by their location and the Superfast Staffordshire programme is enabling thousands of properties across the county to get connected. Superfast broadband is essential to any business and is vital to ensure vibrant and successful rural communities. We are a largely rural county balanced by our urban centres and superfast connection means the whole county can thrive. CLA is a major organisation which has long- campaigned for better rural broadband and so we’re pleased to have been able to connect its Midlands base.”

Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Staffordshire and the West Midlands, said: "Every day we’re seeing how faster fibre broadband is changing people’s lives for the better – whether it’s small businesses wanting to share information with their customers and suppliers, or people wanting to work from home, everything is easier and faster with fibre broadband."

Picture: Mark Winnington (left) Ian Binks and Caroline Bedell

Article written by Cathryn Ellis

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