Thousands in Bridport can benefit from superfast broadband

Around 5,000 homes and businesses in Allington, Bridport, Bradpole, Bothenhampton, Eype and West Bay can now connect to fibre broadband.

More work is planned in Bridport, Charmouth and Chideock to connect even more properties by the end of the year. Superfast Dorset’s multi-million pound rollout, which started earlier this year, is progressing well to enable faster, more reliable internet speeds around the area.

Local people interested in upgrading to the new fibre service should contact their chosen service provider to get connected and start benefiting from the new technology.

A third phase of engineering work is already under way to provide access to fibre broadband for the first time in Burton Bradstock, Loders, Morecombelake and Shipton Gorge, with services available by Spring 2015. Even more properties in Bridport, Charmouth, Chideock and Lyme Regis will also be upgraded in this phase.

Bridport town and county councillor Ros Kayes said: “The arrival of fibre broadband brings with it fantastic opportunities to Bridport and the surrounding rural communities. More jobs and more business lead to a more vibrant, better connected community. And for those of us living in rural communities, having a reliable internet connection means we can better access services that until now have been a real struggle. This new technology helps ensure that Dorset’s rural places aren’t isolated.”

A programme of support for people who need help getting online and learning how to make the most of the internet is running alongside the rollout. Bridport’s volunteer Digital Champions group run drop in sessions at Chancery House, Electric Palace and the Bridport Library. Participants can use their own devices or borrow tablets to get up to speed with the technology.

Angie Porter, who runs informal sessions at the Electric Palace every Thursday at 11am, said: “Sometimes we huddle together to watch clips everyone is interested in, such as the Hindenburg Disaster, but mostly it's up to their own personal interests: be it old maps, music or the grandchildren's photos on Facebook!

“It's been amazing to introduce people to this technology which has the potential to really enrich their lives. Someone being able to access a much-loved opera track from their past that they have not heard for years is a joy to see.

“It's very much a social event and we learn a lot about each other’s lives and interests as the session gives free rein to searching online.”

Angie plans to continue to introduce new apps with her group, such as Skype.

“I am hoping as we progress in confidence we can test and introduce other online tools that can help make life easier like online shopping, making doctor appointments, paying bills and keeping in touch with family," she said.

For many locals having access to better broadband means they can use the internet without any frustrations.

Tamsin Chandler, managing director of Virtual Legacy Ltd, said: "The internet and digital technologies are integral to our business and personal lives so it's absolutely vital rural Dorset benefits from the access and efficiency fibre broadband brings. With just a little know-how, technology serves to make our working lives more streamlined and productive.

“It's also an invaluable networking tool - I've seen its presence grow and grow in and around Bridport over the last few years and the boost it has given local business and its social impact on the people who live here has been extraordinary. I know my company will benefit hugely from the Superfast Dorset programme and that many, many others will too."

An interactive coverage map of the whole project, showing when fibre broadband will become available, is on the project’s website at www.dorsetforyou.com/superfast

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

The Superfast Dorset programme is a partnership between central government, local authorities and BT. Openreach, BT’s local network business, 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.

Overall the project aims to have made superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of the county’s premises by the end of 2016 and 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