Around 2,200 businesses and homes now have access to faster internet connections as a result of the first phase of the Digital Derbyshire superfast broadband roll-out being completed. Many businesses in Markham Vale together with properties in areas of Bolsover, Tibshelf, Holmewood, Ilkeston and Alfreton can now access fibre-broadband thanks to 16 new green roadside cabinets going live in recent weeks.
It is the latest development as part of the £27.67 million Digital Derbyshire project led by Derbyshire County Council in partnership with the UK Government and BT to extend access to fibre broadband to more than 95% of Derbyshire’s businesses and residents by the end of 2016.
Next to benefit will be businesses and homes in areas of Darley Dale, Bakewell, Ambergate and Repton when further cabinets are switched on over the next two months.
And work is continuing to upgrade Grindleford Exchange, making fibre broadband available to more than 1,600 properties in Hathersage, Grindleford and Hope Valley by autumn 2014.
Councillor Joan Dixon, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said: “We’re pressing ahead with our three-year project to bring faster broadband speeds to Derbyshire.
“This investment will open up endless business and leisure opportunities and will help to boost our rural areas, support economic growth and allow local communities to continue to thrive.
“Whether it’s for business, shopping, education or socialising, the internet plays such a huge part of daily life for many of us and that will only grow in the future. That’s why we’ve been driving this project forward to boost the local economy by closing the digital divide which has left many areas of Derbyshire behind when commercial operators rolled out broadband services.”
Digital Derbyshire aims to build on the private sector’s roll-out of fibre broadband on a phase by phase basis until the end of 2016. BT’s network is open meaning Derbyshire households and businesses benefit from a choice of communications providers operating in a highly competitive market.
Rob Shakespeare, BT’s contract manager for Digital Derbyshire, said: “We’re delighted to reach this milestone. The first phase of the project has been very successful and we’re building on this momentum as we continue will the roll-out at pace.”
BT is contributing £12.87m to the project while the county council is contributing £4.9m. A further £7.4m is coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK funds, as well as £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund.
Did you know….?
• Engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network division, are expected to spend more than 68,000 hours planning and building the network for Digital Derbyshire.
• Around 750,000 metres of optical fibre will be laid in Derbyshire.
• Around 445 new green fibre broadband cabinets will be installed at roadsides throughout the county.
• Fibre to cabinet technology can deliver wholesale downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps.
• Superfast broadband benefits include users being able to use multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and sending and receiving large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently.
• Cables laid as part of the Digital Derbyshire project contain between 12 and 500 fibres.
• Each fibre is the width of a human hair and each one is encased before it’s placed inside the cable.