Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry is welcoming news from the Department for Culture Media and Sport today that three million extra premises now have access to Superfast Broadband across the UK, 60,000 of which are in Hampshire.
In total, 272 cabinets have either been installed or upgraded so that many Hampshire residents can upgrade to Superfast Broadband with their chosen provider. Parts of Abbotts Ann, Totton, Sway, Grateley, Rownhams, Crondall and Chandler’s Ford are the latest areas to be switched on in the county. To check if you are able to upgrade to superfast broadband visit: www.hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com
Councillor Perry said: “I am delighted to see that the roll out of superfast broadband is gathering great pace across the UK, with three million premises now able to sign up. For me, the roll out of Superfast Broadband will never be fast enough, but I am glad in Hampshire we are making the good progress we are.”
It follows news last week that BT is to make up to £129 million available to extend the national roll-out of Superfast Broadband. The funds will be available to local authorities much earlier than originally expected to reinvest in providing further Superfast Broadband coverage to more homes and businesses. The money is being made available as a result of a clause in the contracts that BT has agreed with government and local authorities, which allows the funding BT has received to be returned or reinvested into further coverage, if take-up is better than the 20 per cent expected in BT’s original business case. The higher take up rate to date, has resulted in BT making a new business case assumption of reaching 30 per cent take-up in these areas. The timeframe in which the extra coverage may be delivered is currently being investigated.
Commenting, Councillor Perry added: “This just reinforces how crucial take-up is, as it allows the County Council’s ‘gainshare scheme’ to kick in, so that the more residents that sign up for Superfast Broadband once it is available, the greater amount of funding the County Council can claim back from BT to reinvest in the final 5 per cent – the county’s hardest-to-reach areas.”
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, said: “Our rollout of superfast broadband is transforming lives up and down the UK as every day thousands more homes and businesses are gaining access to superfast speeds. It’s fantastic to see that the rollout of superfast broadband in South East is now delivering for customers and for the taxpayer.
“The levels of people taking up superfast broadband in areas where we invested public money are beyond our expectations, and BT is now reimbursing the public purse to deliver further coverage across the UK. This now means that BT will be providing up to £129m cashback for some of the most hard to reach areas.”
Dave Axam, BT’s South East regional director, said: “Today marks important milestones, both locally and nationally, for the superfast broadband revolution. This exciting technology is transforming the opportunities for communities across Hampshire and the UK as a whole.
“BT’s multi billion pound investment in superfast broadband through its involvement in partnerships, such as Hampshire Superfast Broadband and its own commercial programme has already made fibre broadband available to more than 623,000 households and businesses in Hampshire – and the number is continuing to grow rapidly. Our engineers are rolling out the technology at a world class pace, reaching thousands more premises every week.
“Successful broadband partnerships are creating a lasting legacy, which will play a key role in the future prosperity of communities for many years to come.”
Hampshire’s Superfast Broadband programme is rolling out superfast access – internet speeds greater than 24 Mbps – to those properties not covered by existing commercial networks and is on track to take superfast access to 95 per cent of the UK by 2018.