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High-speed internet for another 19,000 businesses and homes

High speed internet has reached another 19,000 businesses and homes as part of a push to make Surrey the UK’s best connected county.

The second phase* of Surrey County Council and BT’s push to help firms do business online and ensure every community gets all the benefits of the digital world was  completed on time last month despite the severe weather.

Now they will press on with connecting another 19,000 premises by the end of March to add to the 34,000 already given a broadband boost as the council closes in on its target of providing high-speed access for nearly 85,000 businesses and homes not covered commercially.

Virtually 100% of Surrey will have access by the end of 2014 compared with the national superfast broadband aim of 95% by 2017. Once completed, the project could boost the local economy by around £30 million a year**.

Peter Martin, Surrey County Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “It’s great news that despite the severe weather we have remained on track to make Surrey the UK’s best connected county.

“The benefits are huge, with the county’s economy being boosted by around £30 million a year and all Surrey’s communities getting fast, reliable internet access. Now we’ll push on with the next stage of the project to ensure we achieve our target of almost 100% access by the end of this year.”

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.”

More information can be found in a BT press release.

* Covering parts of Guildford, Mole Valley, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge, Waverley and Woking.

** 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.

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