Villages to get broadband boost

Villages to get superfast broadband
Villages to get superfast broadband

Hard-to-reach villages are set to be among the first to benefit from a superfast broadband boost funded by New Homes Bonus money.

Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) has backed a plan to commit up to £1.5 million of funding towards the provision of additional superfast broadband in the district.

At a full council meeting this week, elected members agreed to support the allocation of New Homes Bonus funds to help achieve an overall increase in those properties that can access better, faster broadband.

New Homes Bonus money is given by central government to communities that accept new housing.

Members agreed the funding should be used to support communities and businesses in hard-to-reach areas.

A number of pilot projects will explore how to reach these areas, with North Marston, Granborough and Hogshaw set to be part of the first pilot.

Bucks and Herts county councils are working with BT to increase fibre broadband coverage (at least 24Mbps) to more than 90 per cent of homes and businesses in their areas by the end of March 2016.

It is hoped that funds from AVDC can help unlock match funding of £2.56 million from the government as part of the next phase of the project.

AVDC leader Neil Blake said: “The roll-out of fibre broadband through the Connected Counties project is already making a big difference to many people living and working in Aylesbury Vale.

“It’s bringing high-speed broadband access to homes and businesses that otherwise would likely be in the internet slow lane for many years to come.

“We now have the opportunity to bring superfast broadband to even more areas of the district.

“Our investment would ensure that hard-to reach-areas have really excellent broadband connectivity with all the economic, educational and social benefits this brings.”