Thousands more Dorset homes and businesses will be able to benefit from the fastest broadband speeds under multi million pound plans unveiled today.
Engineering work to be completed by summer 2019 is expected to extend the fibre broadband network to over 3,800 premises in the county - with most getting access to full fibre “ultrafast” connections, capable of download speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps).
Around 95 per cent of premises in Dorset can already order a superfast fibre broadband service.
This latest investment, announced by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and managed through the Superfast Dorset Programme, particularly focuses on business premises in areas such as:
- Dorset Innovation Park Enterprise Zone – a 56 hectare site near Wool focused on the marine, defence and energy sectors. It houses nationally important advanced engineering companies in the defence sector and is expected to create 2,000 new jobs and attract dozens of new businesses to the area.
- Aviation Business Park – the premier business park for aerospace advanced manufacturing in the South West. This 60 hectare site near Bournemouth Airport has the potential to create up to 10,000 new highly skilled jobs over the next decade.
- Western Dorset Growth Strategy area - a series of key housing and employment sites in the west of the county providing around 9,500 new homes and highly-skilled jobs.
A significant number of residential premises in Dorset not included in any current fibre broadband roll-out plans will also benefit. This includes homes in:
- Stinsford/Lower Bockhampton
- East Burton
- Harman’s Cross
- Worgret Hill, Wareham
- Southwell, Portland
Cllr Daryl Turner, Dorset County Council Cabinet Member for the Natural and Built Environment, said: “The work we are announcing today will push fibre coverage even further. It will boost the local economy by giving more homes and businesses access to the very fastest broadband speeds.
“Meanwhile, we continue to work with the minority of Dorset communities which are now outside fibre broadband plans, helping them access funding towards alternative solutions.”
The Superfast Dorset Programme uses a mix of public and private funding to bring fibre broadband to areas not covered by the commercial rollout undertaken by companies such as Virgin Media and Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group.
The work announced today will cost £7.4m. It will be undertaken by BT and funded as follows:
- Dorset LEP - £2m
- Central government (Broadband Delivery UK) - £2m
- BT - £3.4m
Rob Dunford, Interim Dorset LEP Director said: “A high speed digital infrastructure is crucial to supporting local economic growth. A better connected Dorset helps to create the right conditions for businesses to thrive and for more highly skilled jobs and housing to be created.
“Our Enterprise Zone at Dorset Innovation Park, the Aviation Business Park and the Western Growth Corridor are strategically important employment sites currently being supported by Dorset LEP and now that they are due to benefit from the fastest broadband speeds, Dorset is becoming an even more attractive place to do business.”
Paul Coles, BT’s regional partnership director for the South West, said: “This latest multi million pound investment in high-speed broadband is another step forward for Dorset.
“Huge progress has been made since the first Superfast Dorset contract was announced four years ago. This strong partnership between Dorset County Council and BT has created a programme that is transforming the opportunities available for many thousands of local households and businesses. Widespread availability of faster broadband is already providing a major boost for the county’s economy because whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.
“And we recognise there is still more to do as we work to extend the fibre broadband network even further. We are committed to making high-speed broadband as widely available as possible.”
The Superfast Dorset project has already enabled more than 570 roadside fibre broadband cabinets across the county, delivering superfast fibre broadband to more than 80,000 properties.
All the engineering work for Superfast Dorset is being carried out by Openreach. Residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and benefit from competitive pricing and products.
Fibre broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds typically several times faster than standard broadband. Residents and businesses must arrange an upgrade with their chosen service provider in order to get the faster speeds.
To check if your home or business can get fibre visit www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/superfast. You can also sign up for regular project updates and to receive an email when fibre arrives in your area.
Notes to editors.
About the Superfast Dorset project
Superfast Dorset is a partnership between BT, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS), Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, the Borough of Poole, Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.
- DCMS - £13.7m
- BT - £16.69m
- Dorset councils - £12.3m, plus project management costs
- Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership - £2m
Breakdown of local authority allocation:
- Dorset County Council - £8,633,473
- West Dorset District Council - £1,487,207
- Christchurch Borough Council - £100,044
- East Dorset District Council - £347,434
- North Dorset District Council - £843,475
- Purbeck District Council - £437,614
- Weymouth & Portland Borough Council - £153,093
- Bournemouth Borough Council - £70,495
- Poole Borough Council - £227,490
The Superfast Dorset project will help to provide:
- 97 per cent of Dorset premises with access to superfast broadband (at least 24Mbps)
- Even more premises with access to fibre broadband (this will offer speeds above 2Mbps)
- 100 per cent of premises with access to greater than 2Mbps, some via other broadband technologies
Further information is available from www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/superfast
BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of six customer-facing lines of business: Consumer, EE, Business and Public Sector, Global Services, Wholesale and Ventures, and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2017, BT Group’s reported revenue was £24,062m with reported profit before taxation of £2,354m.
British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.
For more information, visit www.btplc.com
Openreach is the UK’s leading digital infrastructure provider.
Its 32,000 employees are responsible for building and maintaining millions of miles of fibre and copper cables that connect every home and business in the UK to local telephone exchanges. Openreach operates and maintains this network to deliver a range of wholesale services for more than 580 retail providers, who in-turn provide telephony, broadband, TV and data services to more than 30 million consumer and business customers throughout the country.
Openreach is a highly regulated business, with more than 90 per cent of its revenues generated from services that are regulated by Ofcom. Any company can access its products under exactly the same prices, terms and conditions.
Over the last decade, Openreach has invested more than £10bn into its network and is currently building the UK’s largest fibre broadband footprint. This technology is available to more than 26 million homes and businesses, with tens of thousands more gaining access each week.
Openreach is a wholly owned and independently governed division of the BT Group. For the year ended 31 March 2017, it reported revenues of £5.1bn.
For more information, visit openreach.co.uk