High-speed internet access has arrived for 15,000 businesses and homes as part of a scheme to make Surrey the UK’s best connected county in superfast time.
The first phase of Surrey County Council and BT’s project to help firms do business online and ensure every community gets a broadband boost has been completed*.
Now it is full speed ahead to give another 15,000 premises high-quality access by the end of December as part of the drive to ensure virtually everyone in the county is covered by the end of 2014 compared with the national superfast broadband aim of 95% by 2017.
Once completed, the Superfast Surrey project could boost the local economy by around £30 million a year** and will ensure the council provides high-speed fibre broadband access to more than 80,000 premises not covered commercially.
Surrey County Council’s Deputy Leader Peter Martin said: “This is great news and means we remain firmly on course to make Surrey the UK’s best connected county. Now we’ll press ahead with the next stage of our programme to ensure almost 100% high-speed internet access by next year.
“The benefits are huge, with a boost of around £30 million to the economy annually from helping firms trade online. It is also vital for all Surrey communities to have fast, reliable internet access so they don’t get left behind.”
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT Group, said: “Today’s announcement is another important milestone for a partnership which is making rapid progress. Working with our partners, we are able to bring this exciting technology to locations where the economics and engineering challenges are that much greater.
“High-speed fibre is increasingly important if local households and businesses are to make the most of the huge range of opportunities offered by the internet, whether they are seeking to start a new business, find new customers, undertake online training or simply wishing to browse for entertainment or leisure purposes.”
More information can be found in a press release on BT’s website.
* Areas benefiting are parts of Bagshot, Betchworth, Bookham, Bramley, Brookwood, Chobham, Cranleigh, Deepcut, Dorking, Elstead, Godalming, Godstone, Guildford, Merstham, Nutfield Ridge, Oakwood Hill, Oxted, Redhill and Woking. BT’s commercial roll-out has made fibre broadband available to more than 331,000 Surrey homes and businesses.
** Based on World Bank research, which showed that a 1% increase in broadband coverage results in a 0.12% rise in GDP. Surrey’s GVA – equivalent to GDP – is £30bn a year, meaning growth of 0.1% through better broadband coverage would result in a £30m boost to the county’s economy.