£3m for superfast broadband roll-out in South Glos

Posted on Thursday 26th January 2012 at 1:04 am by SH (Editor)

The Conservatives

Every home and business in South Gloucestershire will potentially be able to access broadband by 2015 with nine out of ten enjoying superfast speeds of up to 24 Mbps, thanks to nearly £3m of public investment.

South Gloucestershire Council has drawn up plans to invest £2.2m of its own money in providing broadband infrastructure capable of delivering much faster speeds, which will be added to a £710k grant from the government body Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

In line with the ambition in South Gloucestershire’s recently refreshed Sustainable Community Strategy to improve access to broadband for all, this project’s aim is to achieve access to a minimum of 2 Mbps broadband speeds for all premises in South Gloucestershire by 2015 and superfast broadband to be available to a target of 90 per cent of premises – also by 2015.

Work to install the superfast broadband infrastructure could start as early as this December because the new tie-up with Wiltshire Council – confirmed earlier this month by South Gloucestershire’s Conservative Cabinet – ensures that the district’s broadband project is one of the most advanced in the country.

It’s estimated that around 82 per cent of premises in South Gloucestershire will be able to benefit from improved broadband infrastructure funded by broadband suppliers themselves, resulting in the availability of a faster and more reliable service by 2014.

The remaining 18 per cent (approx 21,000) of premises – where there are currently no plans by broadband suppliers to invest – will benefit from this public investment in order to make the provision of faster broadband commercially viable.

During last year and prior to the Wiltshire tie-up, South Gloucestershire Council had been working with Bath & North East Somerset Council (BANES) and Bristol City Council until BANES decided to pull out of the joint project.

Speaking ahead of the budget report’s official publication confirming the funding, Cllr John Goddard, Conservative Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said:

“Following our recent tie-up with Wiltshire Council, the proposed £3m of public investment that we will be setting out is yet more evidence of our commitment to tackle the ‘digital divide’ in South Gloucestershire and ensure that we are in the superfast lane of the superfast broadband roll-out.”

“We recognise that improving access to faster broadband is really important for communities and for promoting a business environment that creates jobs and economic prosperity, particularly in our rural areas.”

“That’s why we’re doing more than simply matching the BDUK funding, but actually investing substantially more.”

“For the fifth of all premises that stand currently to be left in the broadband slow lane because they are in areas where there are no plans by broadband suppliers to invest in improved infrastructure, this combined council and BDUK funding will make a huge difference towards ensuring that they are not left behind.”

He added:

“The financial savings generated through sharing resources and project costs by jointly procuring with Wiltshire mean even better value for money for council taxpayers by making every pound go much further.”

A full Cabinet report on the broadband project will be published on the Council’s website on Friday 27th January. The Cabinet meeting will be held on Monday 6th February with the final sign off expected at the Budget Full Council meeting being held on Wednesday 22nd February.

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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One Response to “£3m for superfast broadband roll-out in South Glos”

  1. Simon Says:

    Can you or someone identify these 18000 homes across South Gloucestershire that will not have any superfast broadband provision, and how the money will be spent to address this.

    At a guess, the vast majority of these live in parts of Bradley Stoke, Yate and Thormbury where Virgin has no presence and BT still identify these areas as non viable (a BT con to extract BDUK funding I think). For very little money Virgin could extend to these areas and leaving most of the rest of teh money to address the remaining villages and hamlets