Roll-out of second phase of superfast broadband for Bucks
Buckinghamshire is set to benefit from the next phase of the roll-out of superfast broadband to provide broadband coverage for over 95% of homes and businesses in the county.
Building on the firm foundations established by Buckinghamshire County Council and Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) in the delivery of the first phase of the programme, which saw broadband coverage extend to 90% of premises (more than 45,000 homes and businesses) in Buckinghamshire on schedule and under budget. Phase 2 benefits from further investment by Aylesbury Vale District Council, Wycombe District Council and Chiltern District Council as well as additional funding by BTVLEP.
The three District Councils together with BTVLEP have jointly invested cash of over £2 million to support the project in the next phase of roll-out, which will commence this autumn and it is hoped that up to 11,000 homes and business will benefit from superfast broadband.
Michael Garvey, Board Member of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and Joint Chairman of the Broadband Project Board, said: “We are delighted with the news that we are about to commence the next phase of the roll-out of broadband across Buckinghamshire as high speed fibre broadband is essential if local businesses are to remain competitive. As one of the most productive economies in the country we want to continue to provide the conditions for businesses to thrive at the beating heart of the national economy.”
He added “High speed broadband is a modern life essential, not a luxury and I’m delighted we’ve made great progress connecting residents and businesses across Buckinghamshire in areas that other providers would otherwise consider uneconomical. I recognise that there’s more work to do to ensure that every resident and business has access and in the true spirit of partnership working I am delighted that our District colleagues are now joining with us to take this forward and build on the investment already provided by Buckinghamshire County Council.”
Superfast broadband provides many economic and social benefits, including job creation, online education, remote health care, support for intelligent transport and mobility and so much more.
Philippa Batting, Managing Director of Buckinghamshire Business First, said: “Buckinghamshire has one the largest concentrations of small businesses in the country, many of whom work from home or are in rural areas so it is essential that we work together to ensure all businesses across the county can benefit from superfast broadband.”
The Connected Counties Broadband partnership started connecting the first premises in Buckinghamshire to fibre broadband as part of the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme just over two years ago. Since then, engineers from Openreach, BT’s network business, have installed over 200 new road-side cabinets across Buckinghamshire to facilitate coverage across the county.
This second rollout of superfast broadband in Buckinghamshire will start in autumn as BT starts surveying and planning, with premises being able to access the service from June 2017 and the completion of this phase of roll-out by June 2018.
The Connected Counties project is a partnership involving Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire County Councils, Aylesbury Vale, Wycombe and Chiltern District Councils, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnerships, Buckinghamshire Business First and BT.