Fast in­ter­net boost for ‘ hard to reach’ places RE­MOTE COM­MU­NI­TIES CAN AP­PLY FOR COUN­CIL FUND­ING

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Star Courier (Surrey & Hants) - - FRONT PAGE -

The scheme ap­plies to lo­ca­tions not cov­ered by the Hamp­shire Su­per­fast Broad­band pro­gramme, which aims to con­nect 97.4% by 2019.

HCC will pro­vide up to half of the fund­ing to match money raised by res­i­dents, to help con­nect the re­main­ing 2.6% of com­mu­ni­ties in ar­eas which are more ex­pen­sive to reach.

Coun­cil leader Coun­cil­lor Roy Perry said: “Good broad­band ac­cess is fun­da­men­tal.

“Peo­ple rely on the in­ter­net ev­ery day, whether it’s for bank­ing, shop­ping or learn­ing and work­ing from home.”

“Not only is the econ­omy it of vi­tal for Hamp- shire, it is also an ef­fec­tive way of de­liv­er­ing modern and ac­ces­si­ble pub­lic ser­vices,” he said.

“This money will al­low more peo­ple to ben­e­fit from what is rapidly be­com­ing an es­sen­tial ser­vice.”

The com­mu­nity match fund­ing scheme has been de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with BT’s Com­mu­nity Fi­bre Part­ner­ship.

It fol­lows a wider roll­out of su­per­fast broad­band ser­vices across Hamp­shire, which so far has in­volved up­grad­ing con­nec­tions to more than 87,000 prop­er­ties.

The Hamp­shire Su­per­fast Broad­band pro­gramme will in­crease coverage across the county from 80% to 97.4% by the end of 2019, well in ex­cess of gov­ern­ment tar­gets.

By 2019, HCC will have in­vested £ 12.9m in to the pro­gramme, on top of £ 16.4m from the De­part­ment for Cul­ture, Me­dia and Sport and £ 1.25m from dis­trict coun­cils.

Steve Haines, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Open­reach, said: “It’s great to work with HCC to find a fi­bre broad­band so­lu­tion.

“Open­reach is com­mit­ted to mak­ing fi­bre broad­band as widely avail­able as pos­si­ble for house­holds and busi­nesses.

“The tech­nol­ogy has the abil­ity to trans­form the way peo­ple in­ter­act on­line.”

For more in­for­ma­tion about the com­mu­nity match fund­ing scheme, go to www. hants. gov. uk/ broad­band

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