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Culture secretary Sajid Javid

Thousands of rural premises now benefit from superfast broadband

More than 13,000 Wiltshire homes and businesses now have access to fibre optic broadband thanks to Greater Western Broadband, culture secretary Sajid Javid announced today (Friday).

GWB is the multi-million pound public and private sector partnership between Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire Councils and BT with additional funding from the UK Government’s Superfast Britain programme and the European Regional Development Fund.

The partnership exceeded their original target of reaching 10,000 premises in Wiltshire by the end of June, and have set a new target to bring fibre broadband to 30,000 homes and businesses in the county by the end of this year, as the roll out continues to gather pace.

This announcement comes as the Government announced that more than 1 million UK homes and businesses now have access to superfast broadband as a result of the UK wide rollout.

Up to 40,000 premises are now gaining access every week and the programme will extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017.

The new service means speeds of more than 24Mbps will be available to 91 percent of the properties in Wiltshire by March 2016 or sooner, as nearly 1,500 kilometres of fibre optic cable are laid, and over 300 street cabinets are installed across the county.

Wiltshire Council cabinet member with responsibility for broadband, John Thomson, said: “This project continues to gather pace. The roll out will continue over the coming months and I look forward to more and more homes gaining access to this vital service which can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.”

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: “This is a major engineering project. We’re not just flicking switches in exchanges, so it is great to see that we are now starting to reach into the heart of communities across Wiltshire that have so far been beyond the reach of high-speed broadband.

“It means that families are better connected and able to do more online than ever before and it enables local small businesses to compete on an equal footing with larger firms by enabling them to become more competitive and to attract new customers.”

Small businesses and sole traders are also invited to discover how superfast broadband can benefit them at the third free ‘maximising the internet to do business’ workshop in Trowbridge on Saturday, September 13 from 10am to 1pm.

The workshop is hosted by the business support service and commissioned by Wiltshire Council’s Wiltshire Online team. Click here to book a place.