Superfast Dorset announces first rural communities to benefit from £31.75 million partnership

Superfast Dorset today named Bridport, Charmouth and Chideock as the first communities to benefit from its multi million pound roll-out of superfast broadband. 

This first phase of the programme is expected to make the high-speed fibre optic technology available to around 10,000 Dorset homes and businesses with the first customers able to connect by the end of June. It will also include extending the fibre broadband network in Weymouth, Verwood and Ferndown, most of which have already been upgraded by BT. 

Since the £31.75 million partnership was announced last year, engineers have been busy surveying the network in order to ensure that the roll-out of the new technology is carried out in the most cost effective and efficient manner. 

Superfast Dorset aims to have made superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of the county’s premises by the end of 20161. It builds on the work of the private sector, which has so far given more than 60 per cent of Dorset homes and businesses access to fibre broadband. 

The partnership also plans to ensure a minimum speed of 2Mbps for all premises within the programme area where fibre broadband isn’t viable. 

Most of the programme will be based on Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology, where the fibre runs from the telephone exchange to a fibre optic street cabinet. It can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps2. According to regulator Ofcom, the average download speed in Dorset is 10.9Mbps. 

Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset County Council, said: “This initial phase of work will make a huge difference to a lot of people, especially residents and businesses in Bridport who will have access to the fibre network for the first time. Research shows Dorset people want to be able to watch TV and films online, work from home more easily, buy and sell online and find out about local services. Faster, more reliable broadband connections will enable them to do all this more easily.” 

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT Group, said: “Today’s announcement is a major step forward in a multi million pound partnership, which will help transform broadband communications in Dorset. This exciting technology will provide a major boost for local businesses and households whether they are seeking to attract new customers and become more competitive or simply using the internet for educational and leisure purposes. Whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband.” 

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This marks the beginning of a transformation of broadband for Dorset homes and businesses, with 95 per cent of premises now due to benefit from superfast speeds by 2016. The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to Dorset’s economy.” 

Announcements of other communities to benefit from faster, more reliable broadband will come phase by phase throughout the three year life of the project. Find out whether your premises is included in Phase 1 at www.dorsetforyou.com/superfast. 
Notes to Editors 
• 1 This percentage includes BT’s commercial roll-out of fibre broadband. 
• 2 These are the top wholesale speeds available from BT’s local network division Openreach, to all broadband service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary. 

About the Superfast Dorset project 
Superfast Dorset is a partnership between BT, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, Dorset County Council, Bournemouth Borough Council, the Borough of Poole, Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council, Purbeck District Council, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council. 

Partner contributions 
Dorset councils - £9.44 m towards the infrastructure plus a further £1.3 m to ensure the benefits are maximised. 
DMCS - £9.44 m 
BT - £12.87 m 

Further information is available from www.dorsetforyou.com/superfast

About Superfast Britain 
Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements: 
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017 
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities 
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services 
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. 
For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk