More than 5,000 additional homes and businesses across Wiltshire will be able to receive superfast fibre broadband following a further £3.86 million investment that was announced today.
The project will extend the roll-out of fibre broadband through the Wiltshire Online project which began connecting the first homes and businesses to faster fibre broadband at the end of 2013. Since then it has enabled more than 62,000 premises in Wiltshire to have access to high-speed fibre broadband.
The new deal injects further funding into the council’s contract with BT, with an additional £2.46 million coming from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP), £0.5 million from Wiltshire Council and £0.9 million from BT.
Planning and surveying on the new phase will begin early next year and engineers from Openreach – BT’s local network business – will start building and installing the fibre and structures next year, expanding the reach of fibre in addition to the programme already underway.
John Thomson, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for broadband, said: “From the very the start of this project our aim was for as many people as possible to benefit from this vital service and I am delighted thousands more homes and businesses will have access.
“We have invested significant money into the project because we recognise the long-term benefits to Wiltshire and the many opportunities it will create.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation broadband, said: “Superfast broadband has a huge impact on the way we live.
“It helps business to move, act and trade quickly and effectively. It enables schoolchildren to access their homework online, helps provide care for our elderly, as well as offering better access to e-commerce, social media and home entertainment. For all of these things, fast broadband is essential.
“We’ve already provided more than 62,000 Wiltshire homes and businesses with access to high-speed fibre broadband as a result of our partnership with the county council and we look forward to extending this even further across the county as a result of this announcement. “
When combined with the private sector’s commercial roll-out more than 180,000 Wiltshire homes and businesses already have access to fibre broadband across the county.
Wiltshire was recently named by the County Land and Business Association as one of the top 10 counties in England for running a rural business with digital connectivity playing a big part in its success.
Wiltshire Council’s Wiltshire Online website www.wiltshireonline.org includes a postcode checker. People can simply enter their postcode into the checker to get an update on the progress of fibre broadband availability in their area.
People can follow the progress of the roll-out via the Wiltshire Online website www.wiltshireonline.org or on Twitter at @WiltshireOnline .
Residents and businesses will need to sign up for a fibre package to benefit from improved speeds, but because the network is being installed by Openreach it is ‘open’ and there is a wide choice of broadband service providers. Local people choosing to upgrade will be able to get download speeds of up to 80 megabits (Mbps) and uploads of up to 20Mbps**.