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Hampshire UK Targets 97.4% Superfast Broadband Coverage by 2019

Thursday, Dec 15th, 2016 (12:03 pm) - Score 670

The Hampshire Superfast Broadband project in England, which recently worked with Openreach (BT) to expand “superfast broadband” (24Mbps+) coverage to 90% of the county (59,500 extra premises), has given the green light to a £7.8m extension that will bring the availability to 97.4% by 2019.

At present the second Broadband Delivery UK (Government) supported phase of the local roll-out (Wave 2) is currently working towards a coverage goal of 96% by September 2018 (details), which should benefit an additional 34,500 homes and businesses in Hampshire. Most of this is being delivered via ‘up to’ 80Mbps capable FTTC and some ultrafast FTTP technology.

However the new £6.8m extension of the Wave 2 contract with BT will boost superfast broadband coverage to 97.4% (8,500 extra properties) by 2019 and, in theory, a further 2,000 premises could also be reached through the £1m Community Match Funding Scheme, which allows the County Council to provide up to half of the funding for communities who want to self-fund.

Once completed the Hampshire County Council will have invested £12.9m – with £16.4m coming from BDUK and £1.25m from district councils. A further £7.8m became available from existing funding and gainshare / clawback (i.e. strong take-up in related areas that allows BT to return some of the public investment).

Councillor Roy Perry said:

“This is vital investment to ensure Hampshire businesses and families continue to thrive in today’s digital world, particularly in harder to reach, rural parts of the county which make up the remaining few per cent. We are committed to leaving no-one behind.

As a County Council, we do not have any statutory obligations to increase access to superfast broadband – that rests with the Government. However, we recognise that this infrastructure is crucial for the future prosperity of the county which is why we’re continuing to invest in this technology with our partners, such as BT, to support the local economy, help pupils with education and homework, and reduce social isolation by making it easier for people to communicate online.”

Stacey King, BT’s Partnership Director for the South East, said:

“Today’s announcement is another important milestone for a partnership which is making great progress. Working with Hampshire County Council, we are able to bring high-speed fibre broadband to locations where the economics and engineering are more challenging. High-speed fibre broadband is increasingly important and this is a great opportunity for more homes and businesses to make the most of the wide range benefits that are offered by the internet.”

Apparently the local authority also intends to badger the Enterprise M3 and Solent Local Enterprise Partnerships and district councils in order to find more funding and hopefully to “help as many Hampshire residents as we can,” although at present the only solid commitment is what has been announced above.

No doubt we’ll get further details about the future roll-out plan once Openreach has had a chance to conduct their usual engineering surveys and confirm the specifics, which usually takes a few months.

Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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