Charmouth and Wootton Fitzpaine this week became the first villages to benefit from the multi-million pound Superfast Dorset programme.
More than 400 homes and businesses in the two communities now have the opportunity to take up faster, more reliable broadband services for the first time.
As work continues in the weeks ahead, many more premises in these communities will get access to fibre broadband.
A reception to mark this important milestone in the roll-out will be held in Charmouth on Friday 23 May. Councillor Robert Gould, Leader of West Dorset District Council, will join the Superfast Dorset team to ‘switch on’ a new green roadside cabinet on the intersection of The Street and Higher Sea Lane in Charmouth from 11.30am to 12.00 noon.
The event is also a significant opportunity for Charmouth residents and businesses. Community members are invited to come meet the team and find out more about how they can benefit now that faster, more reliable internet is available.
Jim Hosford, owner of the award winning self-cleaning filters and strainers company Rotorflush Filters Ltd in Charmouth, plans to take up a service as soon as he can. He said: "High speed broadband will be bringing great benefits to our innovative design and engineering business. We'll be able to share larger CAD files faster with our customers and suppliers, take advantage of cloud-based applications and storage, and speed up all our on-line activities. Rotorflush Filters Ltd and the wider Dorset economy will profit from this exciting improvement to our communications."
Cllr Robert Gould said: “Superfast broadband is vital for West Dorset’s future economy and for our residents. It will make it easier for people to work from home, do business online and also download films and television. This is why West Dorset District Council has invested £1.3 million to help get superfast broadband to parts of our areas that would otherwise have missed out.”
Grant Munn, BT’s programme manager for Superfast Dorset, said: “The arrival of fibre broadband is one of the most important investments in Dorset in recent times. High-speed fibre broadband is transforming the way we live and work. For businesses, it can help deliver a competitive edge, which will help them attract new customers and find new, more efficient ways of working. For households, it’s ideal for quick and efficient on-line shopping, entertainment, education, research and social networking.”
Cllr Spencer Flower, leader of Dorset County Council which is investing over £7.4 million in the project, said: “These 400 homes and businesses are the start of a programme which will see us bring access to fibre broadband to almost 80,000 premises. This will breathe new life into Dorset’s villages, enabling young people to study on line and older people to work from home.”
Existing broadband connections do not upgrade automatically. Customers will have to contact their broadband provider and buy a superfast service. The network is available on an open wholesale basis to all broadband providers, thereby ensuring competitive pricing and a wide choice of suppliers for local households and businesses.
Since the £31.75 million partnership was announced last year, engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, have been busy surveying the network in order to ensure that the roll-out of the new technology is carried out in the most cost effective and efficient manner.
The early stages of Superfast Dorset’s roll-out use Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the telephone exchange to a fibre optic street cabinet. It can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1. According to regulator Ofcom, the average download speed in Dorset is 10.9Mbps.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This fantastic news marks the beginning of a remarkable transformation of Broadband in Dorset which will see more than 95 per cent2 of homes and businesses able to access superfast speeds by the end of 2016. The UK already does more business online than any other European country, and widespread access to superfast broadband will provide a tremendous boost to the Dorset economy.”
Superfast Dorset aims to have made superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of the county’s premises by the end of 20162. It builds on the work of the private sector, which has so far given more than 60 per cent of Dorset homes and businesses access to fibre broadband.
The partnership also plans to ensure a minimum speed of 2Mbps for all premises within the programme area where fibre broadband isn’t viable.
Announcements of other communities to benefit from faster, more reliable broadband will come phase by phase throughout the three year life of the project. Further information on the Superfast Dorset project and coverage is available at www.dorsetforyou.com/superfast.
Notes to Editors
• 1 These are the top wholesale speeds available from BT’s local network division Openreach, to all broadband service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
• 2 This percentage includes BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband.
Photocall and Interviews
Media are invited to a photocall on 23 May, 11.30am – 12.00pm, at the new green roadside cabinet on the corner of The Street and Higher Sea Lane, Charmouth. County, district and parish councillors, BT engineers and members of the project team will be available for interviews on this day.
Enquiries about this news release should be made to:
• Penny Syddall on 01305 225065
• For BT enquiries, contact 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.bt.com/newscentre
About the Superfast Dorset project
Superfast Dorset is a partnership between BT, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, 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.
DMCS - £9.44 m
BT - £12.87 m
Dorset councils - £9.44 m towards the infrastructure plus a further £1.3 m to ensure the benefits are maximised.
Breakdown of Local Authority allocation including project management costs
• Dorset County Council - £7,429,073
• West Dorset District Council - £1,259,834
• Christchurch Borough Council - £100,044
• East Dorset District Council - £293,512
• North Dorset District Council - £741,966
• Purbeck District Council - £350,718
• Weymouth & Portland Borough Council - £153,093
• Bournemouth Borough Council - £70,495
• Poole Borough Council - £227,490
Further information is available from www.dorsetforyou.com/superfast.
About Superfast Britain
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk