High speed fibre broadband is being rolled out at a pace in Derbyshire with more than 6,000 businesses and homes now able to sign up and connect.
It is the latest development in the £27.67 million Digital Derbyshire project led by Derbyshire County Council in partnership with BT as part of a Government rollout which has now reached more than 1 million homes and businesses nationwide.
Since launching in April, Digital Derbyshire has provided businesses and homes in areas of Ashbourne, Repton, Markham Vale, Bolsover, Tibshelf, Holmewood, Ilkeston, Long Eaton and Alfreton with access to fibre-broadband.
In the coming months further properties will benefit in areas of Darley Dale, Bakewell and Ambergate.
And work is continuing to upgrade Grindleford Exchange, making fibre broadband available to more than 1,600 properties in Hathersage, Grindleford and Hope Valley by autumn 2014.
Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “Whether it’s for business, shopping, education or socialising, the internet plays such a huge part of daily life for many of us and that will only grow in the future. That’s why we’re driving this project to extend access to fibre broadband to more than 95% of Derbyshire’s businesses and residents by the end of 2016.
“This investment will open up endless business and leisure opportunities and will help to boost our rural areas, support economic growth and allow local communities to continue to thrive.”
Digital Derbyshire aims to build on the private sector’s roll-out of fibre broadband on a phase by phase basis. The new network is ‘open’ meaning Derbyshire households and businesses benefit from a choice of communications providers operating in a highly competitive market.
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “The Digital Derbyshire programme is making strong progress, bringing high-speed fibre broadband to some of the most challenging areas. The programme shows the power of the public and private sectors working together. BT has brought technical expertise to the table as well as millions of pounds of investment and, if we can go further, we will do so. This exciting technology is providing a major boost for local households and businesses whether they are using it to work more efficiently and find new customers or for online learning and leisure.”
BT is contributing £12.87m to the project while the county council is contributing £4.9m. A further £7.4m is coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK funds, as well as £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund.
Sajid Javid MP, the Government’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “More than a million homes and businesses have now benefitted as a result of Government’s investment in superfast broadband.
“It is totally transforming the way we live and work. You can download feature length films faster, chatting online with family and friends around the world using VOIP is more reliable and households can go online simultaneously without the connection slowing down or dropping out.”
“For Businesses, superfast speeds are boosting profits through increased sales, reduced overheads and accessing markets abroad for the first time.”