Communities get faster broadband at last

MORE rural communities are signing up to a BT scheme bringing faster broadband to hard-to-reach areas.

Through its Community Fibre Partnership programme, BT has made a commitment to help communities in challenging areas find a fibre solution to faster broadband connections.

Communities ranging from hamlets and small villages through to business parks, are all part of the so-called "final 5%" of the UK not covered by fibre broadband rollout plans.

In south-west England, some 50 communities have signed up for a Community Fibre Partnership with BT – and more than 6,000 premises will benefit from faster internet.

Some communities have applied for a schools grant of up to £20,000 to help them get fibre-enabled thanks to a £2 million fund created by BT.

It means communities can apply for a match-funded grant of up to £20,000 towards the cost of their new fibre infrastructure – as long as that new infrastructure also serves the local school.

In south-east England, more than 80 communities have signed up for a Community Fibre Partnership. It will see around 12,000 premises benefit from faster internet.

Villages as far and wide as Kingham in Oxfordshire and Wormley in Surrey are set to get superfast broadband as a result of working in partnership with BT.

They'll now get superfast fibre to their local school as well as to the community.

In north-east England, more than 130 households in a Tees Valley communitiy are set to get high-speed broadband following a deal with BT.

The cost of delivering the new technology has been covered by investment from the residents themselves and Openreach, which will install new fibre optic cabling.

The co-funded deal at Meridian Way is expected to see the first residents get fibre broadband speeds of up to 80 Mbps within the next 12 months.

Local resident Brian Green said: "Broadband speeds are more important now than ever before so improving our internet speeds was vital to this community.

"Once the work is complete, the technology will better support people working from home and those wanting to connect several devices to the internet at the same time.

Mr Green added: "We are counting down the days until the upgrade."

BT north-east regional partnership director Simon Roberson said: "Rolling out fibre broadband to as many communities as possible is one of our top priorities."

People had shown great determination to go ahead with the project, he added.

"Our ambition is to 'never say no' to any community that wants superfast broadband, and we're really pleased we found a way forward

Other communities are benefitting from funding through the government's Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme and will see local residents get a higher-speed service.

The Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme allows households and businesses with internet speeds of less than 2Mbps to get funding for better broadband using any technology.

The subsidy scheme is aimed at communities which are not included in any current programme to rollout high-speed fibre broadband.

More details about the Community Fibre Partnership programme are available here.


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