Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry is pleased to announce that an additional 58,200 homes and businesses in the county now have faster broadband speeds thanks to Hampshire’s Superfast Broadband Programme.
The programme marks an investment of £28 million to bring superfast broadband speeds to an extra 97,000 premises which would have otherwise been left out by the commercial roll out.
The ambition is to make high-speed broadband available to at least 95% of premises across Hampshire, by September 2018 – providing access to online services, education and leisure, and delivering a vital tool for economic success.
Commending the excellent progress, Councillor Perry said: “By the end of 2015, around 91% of premises will be connected, and we are well-placed to take action to further extend the existing programme. I now look forward to the Government’s proposals on how to address the final 5% – ensuring the whole of Hampshire can benefit.”
Councillor Perry also welcomed news that the Government’s Innovation Fund trial (to target and improve broadband speeds in rural areas) has recently been extended to cover an extra 250 premises in Privett, East Hampshire. This brings the county’s total number of rural premises connected under the scheme to 1,750. Through the fund, 700 premises have already been upgraded in rural Winchester.
Communities that fall outside of Hampshire’s Superfast Broadband programme who wish to self-fund a solution to receive superfast broadband where they live can now apply for support from the County Council from a £400,000 fund. Communities can submit an expression of interest to receive a maximum of 50% of the total cost (up to £500 per premise), from 1 November. Details of the scheme are to be published shortly.
Take-up of Superfast Broadband has proved popular with Hampshire residents, with Basingstoke’s Rooksdown ward reporting the highest take-up levels in the county, at 68%. This is followed by Hatch Warren and Beggarwood Ward (49%), then Bramley and Sherfield Ward (48%). Take-up is crucial as it allows the County Council’s ‘gainshare scheme’ to kick in – i.e. the more residents that sign up for superfast broadband once it is available, the more funding the Council can claim back from BT to reinvest in the final 5% – the county’s hardest-to-reach areas.
For more information about Hampshire’s Superfast Broadband Programme, visit: www.hampshiresuperfastbroadband.com