To celebrate the news, the head of the Government’s broadband delivery arm, Broadband Delivery UK acting chief executive, William Priest, visited some of the places expected to benefit and the surrounding areas, including the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, Sutton Cheney and The Battlefield Line, Shenton.
The extension has been made possible by a £4.4 million reinvestment of earlier funding by the County Council and BT due to high levels of take up of fibre broadband services by local homes and businesses. Council leader, Nick Rushton, said: “Broadband is an essential driver for further growth, innovation and job creation. Residents and businesses need reliable, fit-for-future communications. I’m pleased to say that we have worked effectively to deliver the programme on time and under budget, it’s a great success. It’s fantastic that so many rural areas will now see fibre broadband across whole communities rather than in parts. We have truly been working together over the past couple of years to ensure the network is continually growing. I’m proud to be part of a project that is transforming the way remote areas get online.”
The news means a further 2,000 premises will now be included as part of the current rollout, which will bring superfast broadband coverage to 97 per cent by September 2018. Areas to benefit include Brooksby, Elmesthorpe, Scalford, Sheepy Magna, Shenton and many other rural villages across the county.
Leicestershire County Council’s multi-million pound Superfast Leicestershire partnership with BT will build on the successful work that’s already made the technology with superfast speeds (24Mbps+) available to more than 60,000 homes and businesses in the county and city, with a further 13,000 experiencing significantly higher speeds than previously.
Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital, said: "Superfast broadband is increasingly at the heart of modern life and we are determined to make sure everyone has the fast and reliable connectivity they need. This is great news for Leicestershire and such a strong take-up rate is an inspiration for other parts of the UK. We have already taken superfast broadband to 93 per cent of UK homes and businesses, and I'm delighted that another 2000 premises in Leicestershire will now be included in the rollout."
This latest contract extension means that by September 2018 more than 90,000 homes and businesses are set to benefit from the Superfast Leicestershire rollout of fibre broadband, 74,000 of which will have access to superfast speeds.
Steve Haines, Managing Director of next generation access for Openreach, said: “Our partnership in Leicestershire continues to be a huge success and one that’s transformed the way people get online. We know how important it is for people in rural areas to have superfast download speeds and we’re delighted to be in a position to be able to extend our work across the county, thanks to the overwhelming success of the programme so far.”
Work carried out as part of the Superfast Leicestershire programme is in addition to BT’s commercial rollout in the county that has already made fibre broadband available to around 300,000 properties. All of the engineering work on behalf of Superfast Leicestershire is being carried out by Openreach, the local network business, which is part of BT Group, meaning people with access to the fibre network can choose from a range of internet providers. For more information about Superfast Leicestershire visit www.superfastleicestershire.org.uk or look out for #SuperfastLeics on Twitter.