Superfast Dorset to rollout fibre broadband to 9,000 more homes and businesses in North Dorset

Thousands of residents and businesses across North Dorset will benefit from faster, more reliable broadband in 2015 as part of Dorset’s multi-million pound rollout of fibre broadband.

Superfast Dorset will announce today that engineering work is already underway on the third phase of the programme, which by spring 2015 is expected to make improved internet speeds available to 9,000 properties in communities in the exchange areas of Blandford, Bourton, Child Okeford, Fontmell Magna, Gillingham, Hazelbury Bryan, Marnhull, Milton Abbas, Shaftesbury and Sturminster Newton.

This third phase builds on the work of the private sector which has already made fibre broadband available to most of Dorset’s towns, including the majority of properties in Blandford, Gillingham and Shaftesbury.

A map showing the Phase 3 area, as well as an interactive coverage map of the whole project, is available on the project’s website at www.dorsetforyou.com/superfast.

The programme, a partnership between Government, BT and Dorset’s councils, will continue work throughout North Dorset in future phases to reach an estimated 17,000 premises by the end of 2016 in North Dorset alone.

Today’s announcement made at Community Partnerships Executive North Dorset meeting at North Dorset’s council chamber is news that many have been waiting for.

Leader of North Dorset District Council, Deborah Croney, said:
“This will make a huge difference across the county. People in rural areas, including much of North Dorset, currently struggle with frustratingly slow speeds. This technology will make a huge difference to families and businesses, especially in our isolated communities.”

Paul Coles, BT South West regional manager, said:

“Superfast Dorset is continuing to achieve strong progress, making high-speed fibre broadband available to dozens of rural communities in the county, which would otherwise not have access to this technology.

“These are exciting times. Fast fibre broadband is a vital part of the future development and success of Dorset. Already, more than 270,000 Dorset homes and businesses can get fibre broadband as a result of BT’s commercial programme and the Superfast Dorset roll-out. We’re more than four years into rolling out fibre broadband across the South West, whether through our commercial programme or with our public sector partners, so the production line is well established and primed to deliver even more over the coming years.”

Since the Superfast Dorset rollout started in spring this year, approximately 18,000 properties across the county have gained access to better broadband. By Christmas, the project aims to reach approximately 30,000.

BT’s local network business, Openreach, has been busy surveying the network in Dorset in order to ensure that the rollout of the new technology is carried out in the most cost effective and efficient manner.

The Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology being widely used throughout the programme can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps1 through fibre running to a fibre optic street cabinet. According to regulator Ofcom, the current average download speed in Dorset is 10.9Mbps. In many rural areas, it is much lower.

Once in place, the fibre optic network is available on an open wholesale basis to all broadband providers, which will ensure competitive pricing and a wide choice of suppliers for local households and businesses.

The Superfast Dorset partnership aims to have made superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of the county’s premises by the end of 20162. Further, the programme is committed to ensure a minimum speed of 2Mbps for all premises within the programme area on request where fibre broadband isn’t viable.

Announcements of other communities to benefit from faster, more reliable broadband will come phase by phase throughout the three year deployment. Register to receive an email when fibre broadband is available in your area at www.dorsetforyou.com/superfast.


Notes to editors

1These 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.

2This percentage includes BT’s commercial rollout of fibre broadband.

The majority of homes and businesses in these exchange areas will be covered in this phase; the project will be returning later with other technologies for those not initially included.

A full list of the villages to be included in this phase will be confirmed nearer the ‘go live’ date.

Enquiries about this news release should be made to:
• Penny Syddall on 01305 225065
• For BT enquiries, contact 0800 085 0660. All news releases can be accessed at our web site: http://www.bt.com/newscentre

About the Superfast Dorset project
Superfast Dorset is a partnership between BT, the Department of Culture, Media 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
DCMS - £9.44 m
BT - £12.87 m
Dorset councils - £9.44 m towards the infrastructure plus a further £1.3 m to ensure the benefits are maximised.
Breakdown of Local Authority allocation including project management costs
• Dorset County Council - £7,429,073
• West Dorset District Council - £1,259,834
• Christchurch Borough Council - £100,044
• East Dorset District Council - £293,512
• North Dorset District Council - £741,966
• Purbeck District Council - £350,718
• Weymouth & Portland Borough Council - £153,093
• Bournemouth Borough Council - £70,495
• Poole Borough Council - £227,490

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