Broadband Roll-out Progress discussed at Hampshire County Council Cabinet
Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry highlighted the progress the programme has made to date, with wave 1 of the programme reaching over 79,000 premises across the county. £13 million to date has been spent on connecting Hampshire residents to faster speeds. Wave 2 of the programme began in January 2016 and will see investment of around £16.45million to connect harder to reach areas across the county. Wave 2 will reach a further 34,000 premises by 2018, bringing county coverage up to over 95%.
Councillor Perry drew attention to the final 4% of premises for which there are currently no plans. Hampshire Council is working with the government to find business models and technology solutions to address these premises and it awaits the formation of proposals by central government on how they wish to provide outreach to this final percentage. Councillor Perry stressed the importance of take up of new services, whereby residents signing up for new improved speeds will allow the County Council to claim back funds from BT to invest in reaching the final 4%. The Broadband team notify registered residents that the cabinet that serves their address has been upgraded through email marketing campaigns; they also notify the area's county councillor and publish tweets on the programme's social media page, twitter.com/Superfasthants.
Cabinet members discussed the government's universal service commitment which is aimed at the relatively small number of premises which are not able to access broadband services over a line capable of a minimum speed of 2Mbps. The scheme offers residents with broadband connections of less than 2Mbps the opportunity to apply for a subsidy towards the installation and set up of a satellite broadband solution. For more information and to apply, click here
Councillor Stephen Reid, Member for Basingstoke North West, brought light to the issues surrounding broadband speeds at new properties. With many residents considering a decent broadband connection the fourth utility, those moving into new houses are disappointed to find that there is inadequate broadband provision in their new property. Hampshire County Council is working closely with property developers and local planning authorities to introduce legislation ensuring developers make provision for superfast broadband infrastructure before build has commenced. In conjunction with this work, the County Council is also working with property developers to "retro fit" existing developments and provide superfast broadband. You can read about a recently retrofitted development here. The "residents" tab on our website contains further information about retro fitting, as well as guides for developers.