Hertfordshire received a broadband boost today as plans were announced to increase high-speed fibre-optic broadband coverage in the county to more than 98 per cent of premises, thanks to additional funding of £13.9 million for the Connected Counties programme.

Connected Counties – the partnership made up of Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire county councils and BT – is already well on the way to ensuring over 90 per cent of both counties have access to fibre broadband by the end of March 2016 as part of the current £18.06 million rollout. With the additional £13.9m now in place, in total over 44,000 homes and businesses in Herts will be able to access fibre broadband through the Connected Counties programme.
It builds on BT’s commercial fibre broadband programme which has already made the high-speed technology available to more than 400,000 households and businesses in the county.

The additional funding has been sourced from contributions of £3.57m from Hertfordshire County Council, £0.5m from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and a match contribution of £4.07m from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. BT will be contributing £5.8 million over the term of the contract.

Cllr Chris Hayward, Hertfordshire’s Cabinet Member for Enterprise, said,
“This investment in superfast broadband is good news for everybody in the county. It's important infrastructure that will show everyday benefits for thousands of homes and businesses. For homes, it will provide a fast and reliable connection for studying online, playing games and downloading music or films.

“For businesses, improved upload and download speeds will mean better connections and ways of working with customers. Fibre broadband gives businesses a fast and reliable tool that also opens up new opportunities for working with technology, such as shared online workspaces, video communications and online data storage.”

Andrew Percival, Chair of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership's infrastructure board, added: “One of the Local Enterprise Partnership's priorities is to create the ideal conditions for businesses of all sizes to flourish. Superfast broadband is key to achieving that and we are delighted that our contribution will play a pivotal role in ensuring that Hertfordshire remains a great place to live, work and do business.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: “Hard work and commitment to this project has secured further investment which will make fibre broadband available to thousands more home and businesses in Hertfordshire.

“The most important aim is to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from fibre broadband and in as quick a timeframe as possible so this is great news for both businesses and households across the county.”
For more information about Connected Counties, and to find out whether your premise is part of the programme, please visit www.connectedcounties.org