HAMPSHIRE County Council has called on the Government to ensure residents can connect to high-speed internet services.

The county council wants assurance from the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, that around 22,000 properties in Hampshire will have their internet speeds upgraded as soon as possible.

The call comes as the council announced its ‘Digital Future Strategy’ on Thursday, February 22, which focuses on ensuring residents have access to online services to reduce the risk of social isolation, and financial disadvantage and help them ‘fully enjoy healthy and independent lives’.

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Councillor Rob Humby, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “We recognise that the national Superfast Broadband programme has been very successful and, in Hampshire, has meant that almost 98 per cent of premises across the county are benefitting from higher internet speeds.

“Without the programme and this public subsidy, they would have otherwise missed out on being upgraded due to the lack of commercial viability for service providers to do so.

“However, we want no one left behind. Being able to connect digitally is vital for so many reasons in our day-to-day lives – for things like making health appointments, staying connected with friends and family, working or learning from home, and using online banking to manage our finances.

“And being able to have fast and efficient online access will become increasingly fundamental to the way we manage our day-to-day lives. It is for this reason that we are seeking a commitment that the Government’s national Project Gigabit initiative will achieve 100 per cent connectivity to fast and reliable broadband services.”

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Project Gigabit, a UK Government programme, enables hard-to-reach communities access to lightning-fast broadband and is delivered by BDUK.

The county council says it will support BDUK in resolving issues related to its services, including permitting works on the public highway and ‘ensuring future digital infrastructure needs are considered as part of the planning process’.

The support will also extend to keeping residents, businesses and other stakeholders informed about BDUK’s Project Gigabit offer and scheme progress. 

For more information about the programme  visit gov.uk/government/organisations/building-digital-uk/about.