More than 90 per cent of homes and businesses in Lincolnshire now have access to superfast broadband – with thousands more set to benefit from further improvements.
The multi-million pound onlincolnshire partnership, led by Lincolnshire councils and BT, was today hailed as “one of the most successful” Lincolnshire projects ever for the way in which it has dramatically transformed the digital landscape across the county over the last three years.
During the project's first phase, an astonishing 150,775 homes and businesses have been given access to better broadband. That works out at more than four thousand premises reached by the fibre broadband network each month.
The huge engineering project, which has rolled out the technology in areas not included in the private sector’s commercial fibre programme, has been completed on-time and within budget.
Richard Davies, Executive Member for IT, said: "onlincolnshire has been one of the most successful projects we've ever been involved in. The initial phase of improvements has gone very smoothly, and made a big difference to broadband speeds across the county.
"We're now seeing a real increase in the number of people signing up for superfast broadband, and enjoying everything that it has to offer. If you're yet to make the change, just check our website at www.onlincolnshire.org to find out whether you're in a superfast area, then contact your internet service provider to upgrade your package."
Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director of next generation access, said: “We’re delighted with the progress made in Lincolnshire. Working closely with the county council, we’ve made fibre broadband available to some of the most rural areas. The advantages are very clear with speeds up to 80Mbps widely available. But there’s more to come with thousands more homes and businesses set to benefit from a second phase of works which is now underway.”
onlincolnshire is now planning a second phase of improvements, which will extend superfast coverage to 95 per cent by the end of 2017.
Cllr Davies said: "We're now looking at how we reach those really hard-to-reach places that are left. We have a further £8.8m invested in the project and we’re looking to make that go as far as possible. BT will be starting work in the near future.
"The Government is also offering people in the most remote areas a discounted satellite broadband connection if they are currently unable to obtain an affordable broadband service of at least two Mbps. You can find the details on our website.
"Hopefully, in time, we'll be able to bring superfast broadband to everyone in the county."
Fibre broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds up to 80Mbps.
At 50Mbps, a music album will take roughly 16 seconds to download, compared to more than three minutes on a 4Mbps connection. A high-quality film will take around four minutes to download on a 50Mbps fibre connection, compared to 50 minutes on a standard 4Mbps connection.
All of the engineering work is being carried out by Openreach, BT’s local network business. Residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and benefit from competitive pricing and products.
Funding for phase one was provided by: Lincolnshire County Council (£10.51m), Lincolnshire's district councils (£4m), the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme (£15.34m), BT (£10.2m) and the European Regional Development Fund (£1.6m).
Funding for phase two has come from: Lincolnshire County Council (£1.8m), BDUK (£1.8m) and BT (around £600k), with the remaining £4.6m coming from BT via a 'gain share’ agreement, in recognition of better-than-expected take-up levels during phase one.
For more, visit www.onlincolnshire.org .
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