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28 March 2016 Written by 

100th cabinet milestone for Connected Counties - superfast broadband roll-out

The Connected Counties programme celebrated an important milestone when the 100th fibre broadband cabinet went 'live' in Hertfordshire recently.

This cabinet supplies superfast fibre broadband speeds to homes and businesses in the village of Offley, whilst the £18.06 million Connected Counties roll-out is on track to achieve more than 90 per cent fibre coverage in Herts by April.

Furthermore, work has also started on a second Connected Counties contract, which is due to achieve 95 per cent fibre coverage in Herts by September 2017 and more than 98 per cent coverage by the end of June 2018. East Herts, including Puckeridge and Buntingford, will be included in the roll-out.

Connected Counties is a partnership involving Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils, Herts and Bucks Local Enterprise Partnerships and BT. In total, an additional 31,000 households and businesses in Herts will be able to access fibre broadband through the Connected Counties programme by June 2018.

This builds on the commercial fibre broadband programmes of BT and other network providers, which have already made the high-speed technology available to more than 400,000 premises across Hertfordshire.

David Williams, Hertfordshire County Council Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Education and Skills, said: "Access to reliable, fast internet is essential for homes and businesses in Hertfordshire. Businesses rely on being able to connect with customers quickly and through a range of digital technologies, and home users are increasingly making the most of online streaming services, so a good connection is key. It's great news that the roll-out of the Connected Counties programme is on schedule and more people will have the opportunity to make use of it sooner."

Andrew Percival, Board Member of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership's Infrastructure Board, added: "Achieving excellent digital connectivity across the county is critical to driving sustained economic growth and I am delighted that the Hertfordshire LEP has been instrumental in addressing the significant gaps in the availability of superfast broadband in those harder to reach areas, such as Offley. The roll-out of fibre coverage by 2018 will enable us to reach out to more of these areas, such as East Herts, enabling several hundred more small and medium businesses, as well as residents and home-workers access to enjoy an uplift in broadband services."

Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access for BT, said: "The Connected Counties programme continues to make great progress and I'm proud of the part BT is playing in rapidly rolling out this fantastic technology. The programme shows the power of the public and private sectors working together. High-speed fibre broadband is providing a major boost for local households and businesses whether they are using it to work more efficiently and find new customers or for online learning and leisure. BT is committed to rolling out faster broadband as quickly and widely as possible. Working with government, local authorities and local communities, we want to make faster broadband available in even the most challenging locations."

Households and businesses are able to order fibre broadband as soon as it 'goes live' in their area. The network is open to all service providers, which means local customers have a choice of service provider.

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