Superfast broadband comes to thousands more Hertfordshire homes and businesses

Businesses based at Maylands Business Park are celebrating having access to faster broadband today, as part of Connected Counties – the £18.06 million partnership to transform speeds for thousands of businesses and residents in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.

Following the ‘switch on’ of a number of high-tech fibre broadband cabinets at the business park, the first wave of businesses are now able to get faster broadband, with most remaining premises scheduled to be upgraded by the end of 2015.

The Connected Counties partnership – made up of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils and BT – aims to bring high-speed fibre-optic broadband, to more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses in the two counties by the end of March 2016.

The Hertfordshire side of the project has been funded by £1.1 million contributions from Hertfordshire County Council and Central Government. BT is also contributing £8.6 million towards the project as a whole.

Hertfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership have also contributed, making the rollout at Maylands Business Park possible with an investment of £0.5m.

Chris Hayward, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Education and Skills, welcomed the news, saying: “Improving business broadband speeds has long been an ambition of Hertfordshire County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership. Traditionally, business parks do not always receive fibre-optic broadband as part of commercial rollouts by providers, so the Connected Counties programme’s upgrades are excellent news for businesses based at Maylands Business Park. They will now have access to faster, more reliable broadband, giving them even more opportunities to prosper.”

Paul Witcombe, enterprise and innovation manager for Hertfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, added: "One of the Local Enterprise Partnerships key roles is to ensure that Hertfordshire is a great place to do business. Reliable broadband access is an absolute essential for modern businesses looking to grow, and we're delighted to have been able to support further roll out at Maylands Business Park."

Giles Ellerton, BT regional board member for the East of England, said: “This is great news for Maylands Business Park as fibre broadband provides fast, strong and reliable connections and will boost the local economy, helping to create and protect local jobs. It will be of enormous benefit to businesses which can use the faster speeds to improve their competitiveness both within the UK and abroad.”

A rollout of faster fibre broadband is also underway at Centennial Park, Elstree, and Gunnelswood Road, Stevenage as part of the scheme.

In total, 14,000 homes and businesses in Hertfordshire should benefit from the Connected Counties programme, building on BT’s commercial rollout which has made the technology available to nearly 400,000 premises in the county so far.

For more information about Connected Counties, please visit www.connectedccounties.org