Faster broadband - another step closer
21 November 2012
Faster broadband speeds for Hampshire residents and businesses have come a step closer with the County Council starting the formal tender process to appoint a commercial partner.
The successful company will implement Hampshire Broadband Programme's plans to bring faster broadband to areas of the county that will not be upgraded by the commercial market. An appointment is likely to be made in February/March 2013 and, subject to State aid approval, work will start on delivering faster broadband services in the summer of 2013.
£5 million of government funding, matched by a further £5 million from Hampshire County Council and district council partners, will be used to intervene in areas where there are too few potential customers to cover the costs of the upgrade to the network infrastructure. The funding will be used to stimulate investment and finance the shortfall.
The Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Ken Thornber, welcomed this key milestone date.
"This is a nationally co-ordinated programme and Hampshire is keen to get started. Hampshire has been given the Government go ahead to move to this next step and secure a commercial partner. Investment in faster broadband speeds is absolutely vital for our local communities and businesses to thrive and grow.
"Up to 115,000 households and businesses in Hampshire - that's just over 20% of premises - will benefit from this public sector funding. People desperately want access to this technology that will allow them to transform the way they do business and communicate. It is a major boost for homeworkers and will benefit families who use the internet for so many different things."
The broadband sign up campaign remains vital, added Councillor Thornber:
"At this crucial point, when we are going out to tender, we want as many people as possible to sign up to our campaign. Hard evidence of demand will show the commercial partner that wins our tender that there are plenty of potential customers who want to make use of this service. This will help the programme money go further, increasing the number of locations we are able to reach with the limited funding available."
Once a commercial partner is appointed next year, the Hampshire Broadband Programme will work with them to draw up detailed plans for those areas that fall into the programme intervention area. Find out more about the Hampshire Broadband Programme.