Oakley gets high-speed broadband in time for Christmas

Basingstoke Gazette: Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry, right, and Peter Cowan, BT's regional partnership director, unveil the superfast broadband cabinet in Oakley. Hampshire County Council leader Roy Perry, right, and Peter Cowan, BT's regional partnership director, unveil the superfast broadband cabinet in Oakley.

HAMPSHIRE County Council’s broadband programme is ahead of schedule – and Oakley this week became the first community to be switched on in time for Christmas.

The first cabinet will give access to fibre broadband to around 250 homes and businesses. And in the months ahead, a further 1,900 homes and businesses in the Oakley area will get access to the high-speed technology.

Yesterday was Super Switch On Day as superfast broadband cabinets in many parts of the country went live simultaneously.

Welcoming the arrival of fibre broadband in Oakley, Government communications minister Ed Vaizey said: “The switching on of superfast broadband in Oakley is great news for local residents and businesses.

“Broadband is an essential part of Hampshire’s present and future. It is vital that we embrace this latest generation of technology in order for our economy to remain competitive.”

Hampshire County Council leader Councillor Roy Perry this week agreed the release of up to £9.2million to lever further funding to extend the Hampshire Superfast Broadband Programme so that 95 per cent of Hampshire premises have access to superfast broadband – an increase of more than 27,000 premises over and above the current programme.

He said: “Access to superfast broadband plays an important role in Hampshire’s economic growth and performance.

“This is why we are working with Government to deliver a programme to boost coverage of superfast broadband to rural areas that would otherwise be left out by commercial providers.

“It will mean that 90 per cent of premises can access faster reliable broadband by the end of 2015, and we are working on extending this to at least 95 per cent by the end of 2017.”

Cllr Perry added: “Hampshire’s programme will fill the gap in smaller, rural areas that would otherwise be left out because the numbers of people who could potentially sign up are not commercially viable for providers.

“Without our investment, these communities most likely would be left behind, as the broadband service providers invest in more densely populated neighbourhoods where there are greater numbers of people to use their services.

“It is widely recognised that the cost of reaching the last five per cent of premises using current fibre-based technology would be very high.

“Central government is consulting on plans to extend coverage to 99 per cent by the end of 2018, and it seems likely that a range of technologies, both new and existing, will feature in this. We think this will include wireless, satellite, and 4G services.

“The county council is working closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ensure that our plans are integrated with national policy.

“Superfast broadband is an important issue for this council, and we have a very real interest in making sure that the private sector suppliers of broadband services will, over the coming years, offer superfast services to as many of the people and businesses in Hampshire as possible.”

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