A successful £1m bid to bring broadband access to New Forest and Test Valley

Nearly 4000 homes and businesses in the New Forest and Test Valley will be able to benefit from access to superfast broadband following a successful £1m bid to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Hampshire County Council secured the funding to extend the coverage to some of the county’s hardest to reach areas. Now more than 1700 premises in the New Forest and over 2000 premises in Test Valley will be able to access superfast broadband.

Following the announcement Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said: “This additional funding is excellent news for communities in the New Forest and Test Valley, and the extra £1m will take superfast broadband to over 3700 additional properties that would otherwise have had to wait. The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to Hampshire‘s economy.”

Cllr Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, added: “This grant is very much welcome announcement as it means we can widen our programme even further and provide even more residents with Superfast Broadband. Areas such as the New Forest and Test Valley have large areas which do not have access to decent broadband speeds so I know this will be an exciting announcement for them.”

The investment will allow local communities, that would otherwise miss out on the advantages of an improved Internet connection, to access better broadband speeds. Rural Affairs Minister, Dan Rogerson, said: “Fast and reliable broadband coverage is crucial to building stronger rural economies and enabling farmers and all rural businesses to grow and thrive. This extra funding will allow rural businesses to benefit and will help close the rural and urban divide in broadband coverage.”

Peter Heywood-Broomfield, Chair of the Community Broadband Group in the New Forest, commented on the positive impact of faster broadband speeds in his area: ‘The successful bid will make a huge difference to those selected rural parishes, which are too small to be commercially attractive and in danger of being left in a communications desert. A good broadband service will have a significant impact on the ability to conduct business and is increasingly important in the delivery of social and public services.’ 

Please see these maps for details of proposed areas covered by the new funding:

Map of New Forest District Council Current and Proposed Broadband Programme

Map for Test Valley Proposed Broadband Programme

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