Two Bucks villages today become the first places in the county to have their broadband upgraded as part of a £18 million programme.
A new roadside cabinet serving 200 residents in Butlers Cross and Ellesborough is going live today, the first of more than 180 in Bucks due to be upgraded to fibre broadband in the next couple of years under the Connected Counties initiative.
This will serve 38,500 homes and businesses not due for connection by commercial providers.
Buckinghamshire County Council leader Martin Tett, said: “In the 21st century access to high quality, high speed broadband is essential for companies.
“We’re determined that in Buckinghamshire we’ll make this available, so that we’re in the forefront for all our businesses.”
One business leader delighted at the speed boost is Myles Hick, director of international security company, Avtel, based at Butler’s Cross.
He said: “Currently we communicate with our customers on video conferencing and I often have to travel to the customer to undertake these meetings because my broadband is too slow.
“Fibre broadband will really open up our ability to truly connect with our staff and customers, reduce the need for travel and cut the CO2 emissions of the business.”
The £18.06 million Connected Counties high speed fibre broadband programme for Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire started last June.
It was then that Buckinghamshire County Council, neighbouring Hertfordshire, the two Local Enterprise Partnerships, and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK signed a contract with BT to provide high speed fibre broadband to these areas.
Butler’s Cross signals the start of Phase One of the delivery plan, which aims to upgrade more than 30 roadside cabinets in Buckinghamshire - many in rural areas.
Guy Lachlan, board member of Buckinghamshire and Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership said: “We lead the country with the number of small businesses in Buckinghamshire and it’s important to provide the right technology to help them stay ahead of the game.
“This is another fantastic step forward in giving them the superfast broadband they need to be out at the front.’
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director of next generation access, said: “This is great news for Buckinghamshire. Fibre broadband opens new horizons and helps us to be more efficient, keeping us in touch with vital services.
“Fast broadband provides strong and reliable connections to the rest of the world. Local businesses have the opportunity to grow, attracting investment and boosting the local economy.”
Buckinghamshire County Council is contributing £3.7 million to the programme and Hertfordshire £1.61 million. These figures include funding from the two Local Enterprise Partnerships. BT is contributing £8.6 million and a further £4.15million is coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds.