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Towards 95% and Beyond: More Good News on Superfast Broadband

February 28, 2014 1:30 PM
Dve Hodgson with Bill Murphy of BT following the signing of the contract to deliver the local broadband plan

This photo shows Mayor Dave Hodgson with Bill Murphy of BT after signing the contract for phase one of the Local Broadband Plan works last summer

Following the Government's announcement of the 'Superfast Extension Programme', Mayor Dave Hodgson has confirmed that he will ensure that the project to ensure 95% of homes have superfast broadband access by 2017 will be delivered in Bedford Borough.

Bedford Borough Council has already been involved successfully in the first phase of the Government's national broadband project to make superfast broadband available to 90% of homes by 2016 and broadband speeds of at least 2 Mbps available to all homes.

That programme will deliver superfast broadband to an extra 8,000 homes by 2016, with work commencing shortly. The Council's involvement in the national extension programme to reach 95% of premises means thousands more homes, especially in rural parts of the borough, will receive superfast (at least 24 mbps) connections. Mayor Dave has confirmed that the Council will provide match funding for the project and ensure that the full benefit of it is achieved here in Bedford borough, with superfast broadband available to at least 95% of homes by 2017.

Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "Widening access to faster broadband across Bedford Borough will make a huge difference for businesses, families, older people and other residents across the Borough, especially in rural areas.

"Our successful involvement in the first phase of the programme will result in every single home in Bedford Borough receiving access to broadband speeds of at least 2 Mbps, with over 8,000 more homes and businesses receiving superfast broadband by 2016.

"We will now make sure the national Superfast Extension Programme to reach at least 95% of households is delivered in full here in the Borough, bringing superfast broadband to many thousands more homes and businesses in the borough."

Bedford Borough Council will provide match funding for the Superfast Extension Programme and will support its delivery.

In line with Mayor Dave's efforts to see superfast broadband rolled out to as many homes across the Borough as swiftly as possible, Bedford Borough Council is also currently working with commercial providers on a bid for additional funding to deliver superfast broadband to the most rural and dispersed communities in the borough. The 'Innovation Fund' competition is designed to seek solutions to the problems of reaching the 'final 5 per cent' of homes. The competition opens in March with decisions made to enable a summer 2014 start on delivery.

For the latest news on these projects and the efforts to expand superfast broadband availability in Bedford Borough see www.bedford.gov.uk/broadband.