Survey highlights demand for superfast broadband
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The survey of local residents and businesses, published today, shows that more than a third of residents would like broadband access at speeds of more than 20 megabits per second, with over a quarter willing to pay extra for the service.
Almost half of businesses would also like superfast access, with one in five prepared to pay more for an improved connection.
The figures will provide further encouragement to commercial operators considering investing in South Gloucestershire’s broadband infrastructure, as part of plans being prepared by the council.
Under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme, central government and council funding will be awarded to a contractor to install high-speed broadband in areas that would not normally be attractive to commercial suppliers.
South Gloucestershire Council Executive Member for Corporate Affairs John Goddard said: ”Ensuring that all of our residents and businesses have access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband is a priority for the council.
“Broadband helps improve residents’ quality of life and can be a vital economic lifeline for our local businesses and it should be available to everyone regardless of where they live or work.
“We have made great strides towards enhancing access to superfast broadband in South Gloucestershire under the government’s BDUK scheme and this research is the latest step towards realising our aims.
“The figures demonstrate that there is a solid business case for investing in areas not usually considered attractive to commercial providers and they should be of considerable interest to commercial providers as we begin the procurement process.”
The BDUK scheme will see the council invest £2.2m, together with £710,000 of government grant, to provide broadband infrastructure to areas of South Gloucestershire that would not normally be considered by commercial providers, such as rural areas.
The process of appointing a commercial broadband infrastructure provider is being carried out in partnership with Wiltshire and Swindon councils and it is expected that larger scale of the joint project will result in a more commercially attractive area for potential bidders, encouraging greater competition and enhancing the scheme’s value for money.
The tie-up with Wiltshire and Swindon’s project – one of the most advanced in the country – also means that South Gloucestershire will be among the first councils to begin the process of signing up a commercial provider later this year.
The research report can be accessed from the council’s website at www.southglos.gov.uk/broadband
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