New £1m funding boost will transform Broadband access in Cotswolds
Release date: 23 February 2016
Cotswold District Council has announced a new £1million fund to boost faster broadband coverage across the whole District. The Council will be setting aside £500,000 to finance installation work and this will be match funded by Gloucestershire County Council, boosting the total to £1 million.
Cllr Lynden Stowe, the CDC Leader, revealed the new broadband funding at the Council meeting on 23 February, and stressed the importance of this initiative:
“We live in an age where people need reliable faster broadband access. Residents want to enjoy the freedom of accessing a wide range of public and private sector online services at times to suit their needs and from the comfort of their homes; school children are being asked to use the internet for homework assignments and to broaden their knowledge and IT skills; businesses can compete more successfully and perhaps even expand when they are supported by cutting edge digital technology.
“Upgrading to faster broadband is not easy in rural areas like the Cotswolds – our District covers over 450 square miles and this means that, despite technological advances in some areas, we are still hampered by ‘dead zones’ and sluggish speeds in far too many locations. This new fund should remedy these problems and ensure that everyone in the Cotswolds can benefit from faster broadband.”
His views were endorsed by the leader of Gloucestershire County Council, Cllr Mark Hawthorne, who added:
“The County Council has given its full backing to extending faster broadband across the Cotswolds. The Fastershire Broadband project has already benefited the Cotswolds by making faster broadband available to over 16,000 homes and businesses under phase 1, and a further 6,500 are currently set to benefit under the phase 2 rollout which has already started in parts of the district.
“Our commitment to match fund CDC’s £500,000 broadband contribution will push this coverage under phase 2 even further, and enable even those in the most remote locations to upgrade to faster and more reliable broadband speeds. This will also provide a significant stimulus for economic activity in the business sector and the county as a whole.
“It is our ultimate aim that by the end of 2018 everyone in the County will have access to the broadband speeds they need.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Fastershire is a partnership between Gloucestershire County Council and Herefordshire Council to bring faster broadband to the two counties, with funding from central government’s Broadband Delivery UK matched by the local authorities.
- Phase 1 of the project, in partnership with BT, will see around 90% of Gloucestershire having access to fibre broadband, with all premises in the project area being able to access a minimum of 2Mbps.
- Phase 2 of the project will extend fibre coverage further across the county. Parts of the Cotswolds are the first to move into phase 2, with a contract awarded to Gigaclear which will make ultrafast speeds available to over 6,500 of the most difficult to reach rural homes and businesses. Other parts of the County will move into phase 2 once phase 1 has completed at the end of March 2016.
The ultimate aim is that by the end of 2018 everyone will have access to the broadband speeds they need.
Further details on the strategy to achieve this aim is available - http://www.fastershire.com/where-when/strategy