Engineering work to be completed by summer 2019 is expected to extend the fibre broadband network to over 3,800 premises in the county - with most getting access to full fibre “ultrafast” connections, capable of download speeds of up to one gigabit per second (1Gbps). Around 95 per cent of premises in Dorset can already order a superfast fibre broadband service. This latest investment, announced by Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and managed through the Superfast Dorset Programme, particularly focuses on business premises in areas such as:
- Dorset Innovation Park Enterprise Zone – a 56 hectare site near Wool focused on the marine, defence and energy sectors. It houses nationally important advanced engineering companies in the defence sector and is expected to create 2,000 new jobs and attract dozens of new businesses to the area.
- Aviation Business Park – the premier business park for aerospace advanced manufacturing in the South West. This 60 hectare site near Bournemouth Airport has the potential to create up to 10,000 new highly skilled jobs over the next decade.
- Western Dorset Growth Strategy area - a series of key housing and employment sites in the west of the county providing around 9,500 new homes and highly-skilled jobs.
A significant number of residential premises in Dorset not included in any current fibre broadband roll-out plans will also benefit.
The Superfast Dorset Programme uses a mix of public and private funding to bring fibre broadband to areas not covered by the commercial rollout undertaken by companies such as Virgin Media and Openreach, the local network business which is part of BT Group. The work announced today will cost £7.4m. It will be undertaken by BT and funded as follows: Dorset LEP - £2m; Central government (Broadband Delivery UK) - £2m; BT - £3.4m.
Rob Dunford, Interim Dorset LEP Director said: “A high speed digital infrastructure is crucial to supporting local economic growth. A better connected Dorset helps to create the right conditions for businesses to thrive and for more highly skilled jobs and housing to be created. Our Enterprise Zone at Dorset Innovation Park, the Aviation Business Park and the Western Growth Corridor are strategically important employment sites currently being supported by Dorset LEP and now that they are due to benefit from the fastest broadband speeds, Dorset is becoming an even more attractive place to do business.”
Paul Coles, BT’s Regional Partnership Director for the South West, said: “This latest multi million pound investment in high-speed broadband is another step forward for Dorset. Huge progress has been made since the first Superfast Dorset contract was announced four years ago. This strong partnership between Dorset County Council and BT has created a programme that is transforming the opportunities available for many thousands of local households and businesses. Widespread availability of faster broadband is already providing a major boost for the county’s economy because whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband. And we recognise there is still more to do as we work to extend the fibre broadband network even further. We are committed to making high-speed broadband as widely available as possible.”
The Superfast Dorset project has already enabled more than 570 roadside fibre broadband cabinets across the county, delivering superfast fibre broadband to more than 80,000 properties. All the engineering work for Superfast Dorset is being carried out by Openreach. Residents and businesses with access to fibre broadband can choose from a wide range of internet service providers and benefit from competitive pricing and products. Fibre broadband helps make everything happen online much faster than a standard broadband connection. The technology offers download speeds typically several times faster than standard broadband. Residents and businesses must arrange an upgrade with their chosen service provider in order to get the faster speeds. To check if your home or business can get fibre visit www.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/superfast.