Consultation launched to find out where super-fast broadband is needed in Derbyshire
A CONSULTATION has been launched to find out where super-fast broadband is needed the most in Derbyshire.
The £14.78 million Digital Derbyshire programme is being developed to overhaul broadband services in the county.
It will deliver superfast broadband to 90% of the county’s properties, and ensure the remaining 10% have access to speeds of at least 2Mbps.
The Government is currently providing £7.39 million – half the cost of the project – with the remainder paid for by Derbyshire County Council.
Because of the amount of public investment, the programme is subject to European state aid rules - which means money can only be spent where it will not duplicate planned investment by commercial companies.
Digital Derbyshire recently completed an open market review to establish existing provision and planned investments for broadband by commercial operators over the next three years. This information was used to establish the proposed area to be covered by the Digital Derbyshire project.
It has now launched state aid consultation to finalise the areas that are eligible for public sector investment.
The consultation will end on April 8.
Councillor Kevin Parkinson, cabinet member for regeneration at Derbyshire County Council, said: “This is an important stage in the Digital Derbyshire project which will deliver the county’s biggest ever broadband transformation.
“A lot of hard work has taken place to lay the foundations so that we can ensure as many people as possible benefit when improved broadband infrastructure is rolled out.
“We’ve had tremendous support from residents and businesses – showing there is a real appetite for improved broadband.
“Continued support is really important to us because we’re competing with other counties, both for private sector investment and to deliver our Digital Derbyshire programme at the earliest possible opportunity.
“This consultation is the final stage of making sure that investment is targeted in the correct areas for the correct reasons and we welcome input from both broadband providers and residents.”
Maps have been created showing the areas that will not receive a basic broadband service or superfast service from the commercial market. At this stage they show only broad areas and are not specific to individual villages.
Residents and businesses can view the maps and consultation document at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/digitalderbyshire
Over 4,000 residents and businesses have already pledged their support for the Digital Derbyshire programme at the site.
The county council is encouraging as many people as possible to do so because the greater demand that can be shown the greater the likely investment from private sector partners.