Tuesday, 19 July 2016 10:41

Partnership delivers faster broadband

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Partnership delivers faster broadband

More than 90,000 rural premises in Derbyshire now have access to faster download speeds, thanks to a local authority fibre broadband partnership.

The multi-million pound Digital Derbyshire programme is a partnership between Derbyshire County Council and BT.

Among the areas to benefit is Bakewell, where fibre broadband was recently made available to more than 2,300 homes and businesses

Pat Lunn, who chairs the local Neighbourhood Planning Team, said she was already making full use of the technology and has high hopes for the future.

    See also: Getting broadband to the final 5%

"I'm not as mobile as I used to be so I spend a lot more time at home now," said Ms Lunn, 79.

"By having a fast and reliable internet connection I can still attend community meetings through video using Skype and keep up-to-date with what's happening in the area.

Dean Collins, the council's cabinet member for highways, transport and infrastructure, said rural communities were already reaping the benefits of faster connections.

"Using the internet has become part of everyday life for most of us,

"But Derbyshire's rural nature meant many areas were left behind when commercial operators rolled out broadband services."

Councillor Collins said Digital Derbyshire was helping to close the digital divide, supporting economic growth, and allowing rural communities to thrive.

Steve Henderson, BT's regional director for next generation access, said fibre broadband had many benefits – especially in more rural areas.

"It makes a huge difference to people living and working in towns and villages that often do not have a full range of services nearby."

Recently published research from BT shows the internet is breathing new life into local communities with

More than 80% of respondents to a BT survey said faster broadband encouraged involvement in their local community and providing access to information and services.

These included playgroups, social activities and other amenities.

Furthermore, 70% of respondents use the internet to access local businesses and services, providing a boost for local business owners.

Other key findings include that almost half of the survey respondents (48%) believe a lack of internet access leads to isolation.

Almost two thirds (63%) of respondents said access to the internet had empowered them to gain new experiences.

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