Local businesses and residents will benefit from ultrafast broadband, a service that provides connection of more than 100Mbps, after contracts were awarded by Wiltshire Council.
The service will be provided following a successful bid by Wiltshire Council for funding of £2m from Broadband Delivery UK and the securing of match funding of £1m from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Following a robust procurement process, which saw an invitation to tender launched in November last year, the contract to deliver Ultrafast broadband in the north of the county has been awarded to Gigaclear Plc and the contract to deliver the service in the south of the county has been awarded to BT.
This project is part of Wiltshire Council’s Wiltshire Online programme which has seen more than 84,000 premises across the county able to access fibre broadband so far – a service that would not have been available without the council’s work.
Wiltshire Council cabinet member for broadband, John Thomson, said: “Thousands upon thousands of premises are seeing the benefits of an improved broadband service thanks to our programme, and we’re delighted even more will do so soon.
“We’re pleased to be working with both Gigaclear and BT to provide this next phase of work which will have a positive impact for householders and businesses alike.
“We are committed to providing an improved broadband service to as much as of the county as possible and will continue to look at all opportunities to help us achieve this.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock said: “This rollout is fantastic news for Wiltshire homes and businesses. We want everyone to have the fast, reliable connectivity they need, and this project will build on the tremendous improvements to broadband speeds already delivered by the Government’s rollout of superfast broadband in Wiltshire and across the UK.”
Paddy Bradley, Director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) said “The SWLEP is delighted to support the ultrafast broadband project.
“Broadband connectivity is a fundamental pre-requisite for any business to succeed in today’s global market. Improving digital connectivity across the area is a priority for the SWLEP and we will continue to support work to expand ultrafast connectivity to ensure that our local businesses can grow and compete nationally and internationally.”
Joe Frost, Business Development Director at Gigaclear, adds: “We’re looking forward to partnering with Wiltshire Council to bring ultrafast broadband to approximately 5,800 homes and businesses in the area. This will revolutionise daily life for so many people in these rural locations with up to 1000mbps for uploads and downloads, putting Wiltshire on the map as one of the best-connected counties in the UK. It also marks a fantastic milestone for Gigaclear as we continue to expand our pure fibre network across the country.”
Paul Coles, regional director for BT in the south west, said: “The award of this contract recognises the confidence Wiltshire Council has in our ability to deliver ultrafast broadband across the county.
“We’re committed to making high-speed fibre broadband as widely available as possible and, when our commercial roll-out is also included, more than 277,000 homes and business can access superfast broadband across Wiltshire today. Additionally, because the network is being installed by Openreach, local households and businesses can choose from more than 100 of the main internet service providers offering competitive fibre broadband products and services.
“This has transformed the way people use the internet, the services that local businesses are able to provide, and the way that everyone can learn online. We’re already delivering significant ultrafast broadband across Swindon, which can deliver speeds of up to 1 gigabit, and are delighted to have been selected by Wiltshire council to extend the reach of ultrafast across other parts of Wiltshire.”
Work to provide the service will start later this year with more information, including which communities will benefit and detailed timescales, to be announced in due course.
For more information about the Wiltshire Online programme people should visit www.wiltshireonline.org