As the end of the first phase of superfast broadband rollout approaches, Navin Sankersingh explains the progress made so far and looks ahead to phase two.
The Connected Counties project team continues to work with BT to rollout superfast broadband to Buckinghamshire’s businesses and residents. We are now approaching the end of contract 1 with over 44,000 premises accessing superfast broadband and are aiming to hit the target of 45,126 by the end of March, providing 90% coverage.
Residents and businesses can use our connected counties availability checker to confirm that a superfast service can be ordered. You can check all the packages available to you via the Ofcom approved ISP checker.
Superfast extension programme
The second superfast rollout contract for Buckinghamshire, often referred to as the superfast extension programme (SEP), is aiming to take superfast coverage up to 95%.
We have commenced due diligence on BT’s contract 2 documentation and are working with the district councils to evaluate and manage any clarification needed with BT in order to accept the proposals to make it contractually binding for delivery. We are targeting final approval for contract 2 by mid-April and can then publish details of the areas that will be part of the superfast extension programme and the timeline for delivery.
In the event that your premise is not covered in contract 2, it is possible that the Connected Counties programme may be able to extend fibre broadband to areas not in scope by using alternative funding streams and technology.
What about the final 5%?
On 29 April Buckinghamshire Business First, in partnership with the South Buckinghamshire and Aylesbury branch of Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), brings you a free event where you will hear about the plans to get everyone up to superfast speed.
What options are available to bring the final 5% up to superfast speed? Come and get a local view on a national problem and hear about the plans for broadband in Buckinghamshire. You can raise your own discussion points to the speakers and the room, with the feedback gathered forming the basis of a document of local views and concerns for use by FSB, Buckinghamshire Business First and Cheryl Gillan MP.
Speakers will include:
- Rt Hon Cheryl Gillan MP, MP for Chesham and Amersham
- Cllr. Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council
- Alex Pratt OBE, Chairman of Buckinghamshire Business First
- Giles Ellerton, Regional Partnership Director, BT Group
- Michael Garvey, Joint Chair of the Connected Counties broadband delivery board
- Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses FSB
Broadband and the government
Broadband has featured prominently in Westminster recently with the government continuing to explore how it can support broadband extensions through further investment and policy. The Connected Counties team will be monitoring this closely, such that implementation and the potential to secure additional funding will enable further support to areas where broadband connectivity remains a significant challenge.
Get the latest on superfast broadband in Buckinghamshire via the Connected Counties website.