Superfast broadband reaches 1 million more homes and businesses

The Government has announced today that superfast broadband is reaching more than 1 million across homes and businesses the UK. In Hertfordshire thousands of homes and businesses can benefit from faster internet speeds, thanks to the Connected Counties programme. 
Connected Counties – the £18.06 million partnership made up of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils and BT – is set to make faster broadband available for more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses in the two counties by March 2016. 
The Hertfordshire part of the programme was granted £1.1 million by the Government as part of their national 'Superfast Britain’ scheme. As well as this, a match funded contribution was made by Hertfordshire County Council (£1.1 million). 
Hertfordshire’s contribution also includes funding of £0.5 million from the counties Local Enterprise Partnership, while BT is contributing £8.6 million to be shared across both counties. 
The UK-wide rollout of fibre-optic broadband is a key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future, by providing access to superfast broadband in areas that would not have been reached otherwise. It aligns well with Hertfordshire County Council’s plans to secure the best infrastructure possible for Hertfordshire citizens and businesses. 
In total, more than 60,000 homes and businesses in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire will receive superfast broadband through the programme, and the technology is already available to almost 9,000 of these premises. 
Cllr Andrew Stevenson, Hertfordshire’s Deputy Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Education and Skills, said: “It is excellent that Hertfordshire has been able to benefit from the Government’s nationwide rollout of superfast broadband, which has helped to underpin Hertfordshire's infrastructure and connectivity. 
"Having superfast broadband is important for both families and businesses. For families, having faster speeds means members can all use the internet at the same time, whether they are steaming films or TV shows, using it to stay in touch with others or using for leisure activities such as playing games online. 
“In turn, businesses can be more productive. It helps to ensure they have a reliable service at all times and gives them access to new ways of working, so that they can do business faster and make use of new technologies. Commerce in the county will benefit from Connected Counties – the first businesses at Maylands Business Parks in Hemel Hempstead are already able to access superfast broadband as part of the scheme, and a rollout at Centennial Park in Elstree and Gunnelswood Road in Stevenage is underway.” 
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “More than a million homes and businesses have now benefitted as a result of Government’s investment in superfast broadband. 
“It is totally transforming the way we live and work. You can download feature length films faster, chatting online with family and friends around the world using VOIP is more reliable and households can go online simultaneously without the connection slowing down or dropping out.” 
“For Businesses, superfast speeds are boosting profits through increased sales, reduced overheads and accessing markets abroad for the first time.” 
Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next Generation Access for BT, said: “"Getting fibre to rural areas is difficult, and often complex, work but we are making great progress. Our engineers have been working incredibly hard rolling out fibre broadband to Hertfordshire homes and businesses. 
“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.” 
For more information about Connected Counties, please visit www.connectedcounties.org