Superfast Broadband Planned for Dorset0
Dorset County Council and BT have agreed a £31.75 million deal which will see high-speed fibre optic broadband becoming available to 97 per cent of premises in the county within three and a half years.
The Superfast Dorset project builds on BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband, which has already made the technology available to more than half of Dorset’s homes and businesses (more than 190,000 premises). The commercial programme will reach more than 260,000 premises by the end of Spring 2014.
The new fibre network will transform broadband speeds across the county and its rural areas. According to the regulator Ofcom in November 2012, the average downstream speed in Dorset was 8.7 Mbps whilst 13.9 per cent of premises received less than 2Mbps.
The partnership will also aim to ensure broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps in the minority of places where fibre broadband isn’t viable.
BT was chosen following an extensive and thorough selection process. The company is contributing £12.87 million towards the overall cost of deployment in “non-commercial” areas, while Dorset County Council and the county’s district and borough councils are contributing £9.44 million and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) a further £9.44 million. The Dorset councils have invested a further £1.3 million to make sure the benefits of the network are maximised.
Surveying work on the project will start in the autumn and the first locations to be upgraded will be announced later this year.