Council leaders welcome broadband investment

DERBYSHIRE County Council leaders have welcomed the Government’s announcement that £7.3 million is available to help improve broadband access in the county.

The Government money is part of a £530 million package to ensure 90 per cent of homes and businesses nationwide have access to superfast broadband by 2015.

Four out of ten households in Derbyshire do not currently have access to broadband with a speed of 2Mbps – the Government’s target broadband speed.

The county council has made broadband improvements one of its key priorities and is working on its quality bid which will need to match the Government’s pledge from other funding sources to unlock the £7.3 million.

Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “Bringing fast and reliable broadband to Derbyshire is one of our top priorities and we welcome today’s announcement that funding is available. Our key challenge will be to identify the necessary local match funding.

“We recognise the important role broadband plays in people’s everyday lives and the opportunities it brings for businesses to thrive.

“Vast areas of Derbyshire are among the country’s most rural and this is where broadband speeds tend to be at their slowest.

“I urge everyone across Derbyshire to take part in our broadband survey because the number of responses for each area will speed up our investment decisions.

“We’re awaiting further funding details and will be working hard to find ways of unlocking the money to make sure it brings the best possible impact for Derbyshire.”

The county council has been running a survey since October last year to establish the broadband experiences of residents and businesses in Derbyshire.

The survey will be a key part of helping to unlock the Government funding and its findings will be used to pinpoint where investment needs to be made to improve broadband coverage and speeds.

The on-line survey can be accessed by visiting www.derbyshire.gov.uk/broadbandsurvey

If people don’t have access to the internet they can visit of the county council’s libraries where they can use a computer for free.

Or they can ring the county council’s contact centre Call Derbyshire on 08 456 058 058 or 01629 533190 where an operator will fill in the survey while they are on the line.

If anyone has additional comments they can email them to broadband@derbyshire.gov.uk