I recently received a letter from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport concerning rural broadband which I thought may be of interest to constituents and therefore I have included a copy below.
Archive for the ‘Broadband’ Category
I recently received an update from Bucks Business First concerning local broadband that I thought may be of interest to constituents. Therefore, I have posted the information below.
Residents and businesses across Bucks and Herts can expect to see their broadband speeds soar over the next few years,after the government announced today (16 February 2012) that it has approved a joint application, fromBuckinghamshire and Hertfordshire County Councils, for £3 million funding to support the roll-out of superfast broadband across both counties.
The announcement moves Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire County Councils a step closer to rolling out next generation broadband to communities and businesses by 2015. Over the upcoming months, a variety of activities will get underway working towards procurement later in the year, focused on extending the coverage of superfast infrastructure. The dual county project will then be put out to tender to bidding suppliers, with groundwork expected to begin in 2013.
The government, through its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, is investing £530 million nationally to ensure the UK has the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015. It wants every UK resident to be able to access 2Mbps broadband speeds and 90 percent of the country to get super-fast broadband, defined by Ofcom as 24Mbps or above. Both Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire are hoping to exceed these targets, through the delivery of this joint project.
From BDUK’s funding pot, the county councils have been awarded £3.07 million, of which Buckinghamshire will receive £1.96 million and Hertfordshire £1.11 million. These amounts will be supplemented by substantial contributions from councils in both counties and the private sector.
Slow broadband speeds mean that many residents in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire have experienced ‘digital exclusion’ where they are unable to utilise services such as video streaming, BBC iplayer and online tools for home education. Meanwhile, businesses operating in the across the counties have been unable to use essential tools such as video conferencing, Skype and office collaboration tools, develop e-commerce sites or cloud computing, all of which are essential for competiveness, development and growth.
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, said: ‘This is fantastic news, and essential for making Buckinghamshire a place to start and grow a business in the 21st century. There’s still work to do in getting match-funding, but this supports our commitment to make the county a great place to do business and to live.
David Lloyd, Cabinet Member for Resources and Economic Wellbeing at Hertfordshire County Council said “Rolling out high-speed broadband is as important for us now as installing mains water was in the 19th century; it’s a vital piece of infrastructure. Hertfordshire’s businesses need good broadband access to be competitive and keep pace with other parts of the UK. There are certain parts of the county, even business parks and urban areas, that have struggled to get good broadband speed and access. I’m delighted that we’re now able to do something to rectify this.”
It is expected that the procurement programme will begin later this year, with both counties inviting tenders from suppliers through a government framework. It is anticipated that physical implementation of the superfast broadband network will begin by mid-2013.
I recently wrote to Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media, and Sport, to support the application of Buckinghamshire Business First (BBF), in conjunction with Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC), for funding from Broadband Delivery UK to provide superfast broadband capabilities to the whole county.
Buckinghamshire well deserves its name as the Entrepreneurial Heart of Britain, however in order to retain this status it needs a communications infrastructure fit for the twenty-first century. This is why I have asked Mr Hunt to look upon BBF and BCC’s joint application favourably.
A copy of the letter can be seen below.