Wessex FM News

£5M broadband investment in Dorset

Superfast Broadband school

Published at 1:20pm 19th March 2019.

Investment in broadband across Dorset since 2015 has created £5million in benefits – according to a report.

But the county is now lagging behind in the next generation of fibre technology – with only 2.6 per cent of properties connected.

The same report, to the county’s economic growth committee on March 20th, says that the superfast broadband technology has helped the council make savings in running its services and is helping the Clinical Commissioning Group to improve access for the public to health information through the internet and medical initiatives such as e-consult where medics and patients talk on line.

Details are also given of the work of the 65 trained volunteer digital champions who, since October 2017, have provided 2,700 tutorials; offered 1,900 volunteer hours and have helped 1,036 individual learners.

Since the project started more than 85,000 premises in the Dorset Superfast project area, which does not include the whole of the county, have been connected and 3,500 more will be connected during 2019.

A separate report before the committee notes that 10,000 premises spread across the county remain in need of access to superfast.

Councillors will be told that the next challenge is full fibre network coverage: The UK is below the global average at only 5 per cent with Dorset superfast area only on 2.6 per cent. The current contract for fibre should add another 4,000 premises, approximately an extra one per cent of homes and businesses.

Dorset County Council say the £5M in benefits is based on a national report, Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme Impact and Outcome study, produced in 2017. It suggests an economic benefit of £8 for every £1 invested. The £5million for Dorset is based on this multiplier.
The Superfast Dorset programme was set up to reach 95% superfast coverage;and now has 97.3% superfast coverage in the county. The Government’s now wants 100% full fibre coverage by 2033.

By Trevor Bevins, Local Democracy Reporter

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