Connected Counties – a partnership between Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire's Local Enterprise Partnership and Buckinghamshire County Council – is focused on extending fibre broadband coverage to hard-to-reach areas of the county. This superfast broadband infrastructure means residents and businesses have fast and reliable upload and download speeds and can access a wide range of online services.
David Williams, Hertfordshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Education and Skills, and Hertfordshire LEP Board Member, said: "Access to broadband internet is essential for homes and businesses in Hertfordshire. We know our businesses rely on being able to connect with customers and home users increasingly use online streaming services, so a good connection is key."
The programme of upgrades began in 2014 and has so far enabled a further 20,000 homes and businesses in Hertfordshire to access superfast broadband. The first phase of the £18.54m project is now complete and Hertfordshire County Council has signed a second contract with BT Openreach to continue the superfast broadband roll out across Hertfordshire so that 30,000 more homes and business premises will have fibre broadband by June 2018. As well as being delivered on time, the programme has come in significantly under budget.
Andrew Percival, Chair of Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership's Strategic Infrastructure Board, added: "I'm delighted that the first stage of the Connected Counties has been completed successfully and that we are continuing to extend the programme to bring better internet connections to more people in Hertfordshire."
Bill Murphy, BT's Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: "The achievement of this key milestone shows the great progress being made by the Connected Counties partnership. This highly successful partnership is overcoming the engineering challenges posed by a rural area to get superfast fibre broadband to some of the county's most remote locations. The arrival of this exciting technology is a major boost for local communities because whatever you do online you can do it better with fibre broadband."
Connected Counties builds on the commercial fibre broadband improvement of BT and other network providers, which have already made the high-speed technology available to more than 400,000 households and businesses across Hertfordshire.