Five Blackpool guest houses have been the first to benefit from a full fibre broadband transformation as part of a £3.1m investment to bring gigabit connection speeds to the town and consign slow, unreliable internet to the past!

The Arthington, By the Seaside, Beverley, Strathdon and Nestor Hotels on St Chad’s Road found themselves overlooked by the Superfast Lancashire upgrade because their telephone lines were connected to a different telephone cabinet than the rest of the street. 

Guest houses on St Chad's RoadGuest houses in St Chad's Road

Putting their broadband woes to bed 

The B&B owners joined forces with Claire Smith from Stay Blackpool and through a meeting between Claire and the council’s Head of ICT, Tony Doyle, the guest house owners contacted Fibre Blackpool co-operative members, ITS Group and Network Connect, to find out more about full fibre services of up to 100 Mbps and could finally putting their broadband woes to bed.

Stephen Fazakerley, proprietor of The Arthington Hotel, said: “When we found ourselves left out of the Superfast Lancashire upgrade we were frustrated. Being able to offer our guests fast reliable WiFi is really important: ‘what’s the WiFi code?’ is normally one of the first things we are asked! Being connected to ITS’s full fibre network and getting a speedy 100Mbps broadband service from Network Connect has literally changed our lives. It has helped us to differentiate ourselves, for example, as well as a guaranteed ultrafast WiFi connection, we have installed an Amazon Echo device in each of our guest rooms and are introducing Smart TVs.”

Lisa Harding, Business Development Manager, ITS said: “These full fibre connections are really important for local businesses, now more than ever, because they will help to provide a competitive edge needed for survival as they start to open once the lockdown eases and visitors return to Blackpool.

“True full fibre connections deliver a really reliable, high speed service that won’t have to be ripped out when the old copper network is switched off. It is an enabler that underpins business connectivity needs now and in the future."

By The Seaside Hotel gets fibreBy The Seaside Hotel

Ryan Heys, Sales Director, Network Connect said: “There is no greater pleasure than being able to provide a full fibre service to a business knowing that it will transform their experience and give them capabilities that will allow them to add value to their business in a multitude of ways. 

In the case of these guest houses a digital gulf was starting to emerge between them and their neighbours but now we have deployed a high capacity building-wide WiFi infrastructure ensuring guests can get on line from anywhere within the hotel and voice over IP phones have also been installed, reducing the costs of other services.”

Fibre Blackpool is a co-operative group from the public and private sectors including Blackpool Council, ITS Group and Network Connect that are working together to roll out a Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) that will give an improved broadband internet connection to residents and businesses across the district. 

The launch of the Fibre Blackpool initiative is a result of £3.1m of funding that was secured in Spring 2018 through the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). 

The grant has been used to expand a shared fibre infrastructure into Blackpool town centre and along the length of the coast’s tramline, from Squires Gate Lane and Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone all the way to Fleetwood and Hillhouse Technology Enterprise Zone, thus future-proofing the town with a full ‘fibre to the premises’ (FTTP) connection. Discussions are also ongoing to extend the fibre infrastructure south to Lytham St Annes.