Superfast broadband coming to Harborough

Harborough District Council leader Blake Pain
Harborough District Council leader Blake Pain

Thousands of people across the Harborough district are to get access to superfast Broadband thanks to a new £530,000 council deal.

The extra investment from Harborough District Council will increase access to fast fibre-optic internet speeds from 56 per cent of premises across the area to 90.1 per cent by 2016.

Members of the council’s executive committee backed the move at a meetinga week ago.

The council says the new deal will particularly help the high proportion of home-workers and rural agricultural businesses in the district.

Harborough District Council leader Blake Pain said: “The district council is committed to bringing the benefits of broadband to residents and businesses in the Harborough district.

“In support of this, we are delighted to commit £530,000 funding to such an important project which will make a real difference.”

The new funding will augment a £16.9m broadband deal signed by Leicestershire County Council and BT last August.

According to the 2011 census, the population of the Harborough district was about 85,000, meaning the new deal could potentially benefit 34,000 residents.

Cllr Pain added: “Our investment alongside Leicestershire County Council will bring superfast broadband to more places in the Harborough district, increasing coverage from 56 per cent of premises at the moment to over 90 per cent by 2016, including many rural communities.

“We will also continue to work with partners and communities with the aim of bringing superfast broadband to the whole district by 2018.”

In its report to the executive committee, the council said superfast broadband will encourage economic growth and innovation, improve access to services and help transform the delivery of public services.

Countywide, a total of £92m is being committed by local authorities for broadband upgrades.

Harborough is pledging most of all the borough or district councils in the county – £170,000 more than the next biggest investor.

The broadband rollout will be delivered in phases over an 18-month programme with the first areas going live in late September this year.

Connecting the final 10 per cent of communities is proving to be prohibitively expensive at the moment, due to technical issues.

It could mean having to use satellite or wireless methods to reach these remaining 10 per cent of residents.