Creative youngsters from a Telford and Wrekin school are helping to spread the word about the benefits of superfast fibre broadband …with a little help from their new internet friend.
Pupils at Dawley Church of England Primary School were asked to come up with a name for Superfast Telford’s new online ‘mascot’ to coincide with the first fibre broadband cabinet going live as part of the ambitious roll-out programme.
Chloe Norry, aged eight, came up with the winning cartoon character name – Rapid Sid - after hearing about the high-speed fibre broadband coming to the area. She said: “It is really important because people can learn things from the Internet and it can be fun for you when you are researching. It helps you get better at school.”
Rapid Sid is now set to become a regular feature of the Superfast Telford website – www.superfast-telford.co.uk - where he will be sharing useful tips and advice about the benefits of the technology as well as updates on the programme roll-out.
The naming of the mascot comes as around 120 households and businesses in the Doseley Road area of Dawley are set to become the first to be able to benefit from high-speed fibre broadband as a result of the Superfast Telford partnership.
From next week, local households opting for an upgrade will be able to order fibre broadband with download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps*.
Nick Andrews, head teacher of Dawley CE Primary School, said: “The children were really engaged doing this activity and had great fun. The internet is so important to them and their lives. It is brilliant that they have the opportunity to add something to a physical image based on something they use every day.”
Councillor Shaun Davies, cabinet member for Customer Services, said: “I would like to thank residents for their patience while essential surveying and engineering work has taken place ahead of the official roll out of Superfast Telford.
“I am delighted that the first cabinet has now gone live – it is the first tangible milestone for residents and businesses and Superfast Telford will be rolled out fairly rapidly from now on.”
Ed Vaizey, Digital Economy Minister said: "This is a fantastic early Christmas present for the additional homes and businesses in Telford who can now for the first time benefit from all that superfast broadband speeds can offer.
“Our nationwide rollout has already reached 3.5 million UK premises who would otherwise have missed out and we're on track to get to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.”
Ian Binks, BT’s regional manager for Telford & Wrekin, said: “Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband. The high-speed technology enables several people in the household to be online at the same time.
“This means children can play games that they’ve had for Christmas or do their homework without affecting mum and dad shopping online, streaming videos, watching catch-up television and uploading photos.
“Alternatively, it can help people wanting to start a new business or hobby or maybe even to kick-start a new fitness regime with online support.”
Superfast Telford is a £5.6m partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme which will bring superfast fibre broadband to 98 per cent of households in the borough by the end of 2017.
The network being installed by Openreach – BT’s local network business - will enable people to choose from a wide range of broadband service providers.
All the latest information on the programme can be found on the partnership’s website www.superfast-telford.co.uk including a map searchable by postcode.