Homes and business across West Berkshire set for superfast broadband offering
BROADBAND provider Gigaclear has laid more than 435 miles of fibre cables across rural West Berkshire - paving the way for the rollout of superfast internet to more than 14,000 homes and businesses.
These works were made possible by a £1.8 million grant from the government and the installation is part of the Superfast Berkshire initiative, which was launched in 2011.
This programme aims to improve broadband in areas where coverage is not viewed as commercially viable by the private sector.
West Berkshire Council is one of the six unitary authorities involved in the initiative.
The improvements mean that 98 per cent of the district is now covered by the local full-fibre gigabit capable network.
Gigaclear's South Central General Manager, Laura Jones, said: “We’re very pleased to have completed our build in West Berkshire.
"Gigaclear’s work with Superfast Berkshire reached the final stages in the summer of 2020, with only a hundred or so properties in outstanding wayleave areas to go.
"It's satisfying to know the job’s done, but really the most significant thing is knowing that people in West Berkshire can now access ultrafast broadband after years of dealing with painfully slow internet.
"The pandemic really underlined how important internet access is, especially in historically underserved areas of the UK."
West Berkshire Council's executive member for internal governance, Howard Woollaston (Con, Lambourn), said: "This is a great achievement and we’re really proud that we have taken on and met a challenge that was not commercially viable to the private sector.
"I'm delighted that the majority of West Berkshire residents and businesses in rural areas are now receiving superfast broadband as part of this project.
"This high level of connectivity has been a priority for us.
"98 per cent coverage is a great achievement and Superfast Berkshire has put our district into the very top tier of ultra-fast broadband behind only parts of London and Bournemouth.
"I hope that with the Project Gigabit programme recently launched by Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the remaining 2 per cent will have similar access.
"On a personal level, as a Gigaclear customer, the rollout has transformed my family’s digital life.
"Without it, with four of us working from home during lockdowns and with multiple screens, we would have been lost."