Superfast speeds for New Forest homes after broadband boost
Posted on Tuesday February 7 2017 by Alexandra Paton
Welcoming the news, the County Council’s Executive Member for Economic Development, Councillor Mel Kendal, said: “Superfast Broadband is crucial for the future prosperity of the New Forest and Hampshire as a whole - helping pupils with homework, supporting businesses and helping reduce social isolation by making it easier for people to communicate online.
“It’s been important that we consider the proposals very carefully, as we want to ensure that the work will not have an impact on the special and unique qualities of the New Forest National Park and its free roaming livestock. I’m pleased that we can now take forward these proposals and help bring faster internet connections to many more homes in the New Forest, in future.”
The plans, to benefit more than 400 properties, have been approved by stakeholders including Natural England, New Forest National Park Authority, Verderers of the New Forest, Forestry Commission and New Forest District Council.
Those in line to enjoy improved broadband speeds of at least 15 Mbps are:
- 200 properties in East Boldre near Hatchet Pond
- 90 properties in Burley
- 90 properties in North Gorley near Fordingbridge
- 60 properties in Brockenhurst
A 56-day statutory notice period for public comments will run until 31 March before any work can take place.
The Hampshire Superfast Broadband programme - funded by Hampshire County Council, the Government, partner local authorities and BT - has already increased access to superfast internet speeds to 63,000 premises across the county, increasing coverage from 80% to 90% Hampshire properties. The programme’s extended Wave 2 will deliver access to a further 43,000 premises by 2019, increasing coverage to 97.4% of properties in Hampshire.
Councillor Kendal added: “Significant challenges remain in Hampshire to reach the final few dwellings, where proportionately more expensive infrastructure is needed for a smaller number of properties. However, we are alert to the challenges and are working hard to find a solution for these areas, such as facilitating discussions with satellite broadband or self-funding providers. We await details from the Government on how this will be tackled nationally.”
By the end of the programme in 2019, Hampshire County Council will have invested £12.9m - with £16.4m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and £1.25m from district councils. A further £7.8m became available from existing funding and gainshare, a clause in the contract with BT which releases more funding, to be reinvested if more people than expected sign up to superfast broadband.
With the technology and infrastructure in place, residents and businesses then need to actively sign up for the improved broadband service via a choice of internet service providers. Residents should contact their current internet service provider in the first instance although a choice of internet service providers is available including BT, Sky and TalkTalk. Further information can be found at www.hants.gov.uk/broadband and via the Ofcom website https://checker.ofcom.org.uk/