More district homes and businesses set to get connected

Around 12,500 homes and businesses across Bucks are set to benefit from better internet connectivity, thanks to almost £5million of funding into the second phase of a countywide broadband extension programme.

Wycombe District Council is investing £860,000 to extend broadband coverage to more than 4,500 homes and business in the Wycombe district. There are still parts of the district that don’t have broadband, making sharing information over the internet for businesses and homes in those areas a real challenge.

Further funding for the district is also being provided by Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP (BTVLEP), which combined with the council’s contribution, is being match-funded by the government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme to a value of £2,035,000. Money is also being re-invested across the county by BTVLEP and Buckinghamshire County Council as a benefit of phase one of the programme.

With the contract for this extension of broadband now signed, BT is finalising its plans for which areas in the district will receive fibre cabinets first. It’s expected that they’ll be in on site in some areas during summer 2017, with the aim of all of the broadband extension for this phase completed by the end of 2019.

Cllr Steve Broadbent, Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, said: “We’re really pleased to be playing an integral role in achieving greater connectivity across our district. Broadband is something that most of us take for granted, so we know how frustrating it is for those residents and businesses in the district struggling either with a really poor connection, or no connection at all!  The significant investment that we’ve made as a council, which we’ve maximised so it could be match-funded, has been targeted at our more rural areas. We recognise that existing coverage within more urban areas can also be patchy and so will be working with our partners, including BTVLEP, to find new funding opportunities to address this, as well as the premises in the ‘last five percent’ so we can get to 100% coverage in the district.”

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 extension of Phase 2 of the project and with the take up of superfast 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, which is why we continue to push for 100% superfast broadband coverage.”

For more information about the broadband extension programme, visit www.connectedcounties.org