A MULTI-million pound programme set to deliver high speed broadband to almost every home in West Berkshire has entered its final phase, it has been announced.
Superfast Berkshire was started in 2011, as part of the Government’s (Broadband Delivery UK) national programme, and set out to deliver superfast broadband to areas not serviced by the commercial plans of the private sector.
And this week it has been announced that contracts have been awarded to BT and Gigaclear to complete the third and final phase of the project, which will see superfast coverage brought to more than 99.5 per cent of homes across the county over the next two years.
The programme, backed by all six Berkshire unitary councils and the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has so far improved superfast broadband coverage across the county from 87 per cent to 95 per cent.
The deal will see BT extend coverage to 7,400 urban premises across the county and Gigaclear to extend coverage to 6,100 rural premises.
West Berkshire Council chief executive Nick Carter, who chairs the Superfast Berkshire board, said: “We’re really pleased with the rollout of superfast broadband so far and excited to begin the final push to connect the remaining premises to the network.
“A fast broadband network is important to the county’s prosperity, so this programme will ensure the area retains its competitive edge and make it easier to work, live, learn and socialise in Berkshire.”
In total, more than £40m will have been invested in the Superfast Berkshire programme by both the private and public sector to deliver superfast broadband including £29.3m from partners BT, Gigaclear and Call Flow Solutions, £5.5m from Berkshire local authorities and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and £5.2m from central Government.
Minister of state for digital, Matt Hancock, said: “The rollout of superfast broadband in Berkshire is a fantastic success story, but there’s more to do if everyone is to benefit.
“It’s great to hear that the next phase will take coverage to more than 99.5 per cent of local homes and businesses, making Berkshire one of the best connected counties in the UK.”
For more information, visit www.superfastberkshire.org.uk