At present not all areas within South Gloucestershire have access to broadband and some areas experience slow speeds and poor service. This means that many residents and businesses struggle to take full advantage of the internet and online services. Poor broadband services are seen as a major obstacle to sustained economic growth and investment. Limited access to broadband also restricts individuals and families in accessing online services, such as educational activities, communication, entertainment, shopping and paying bills.
Connecting up our most rural areas will be one of the challenges we face, as upgrading the network in these areas may require new infrastructure. The new fibre network has been designed to provide the greatest possible coverage for the investment. Other designs have been considered, for example connecting very rural areas first, followed by larger villages and towns. However, the existing infrastructure requires that the work be completed in a specific sequence of events and will dictate the order of the rollout.
This approach will ensure the best value for money, but it does mean that we cannot deviate from how the network will be rolled out across the area, as doing so would result in a time-consuming and costly project and would ultimately reduce the number of premises we are able to deliver superfast broadband to.
Our Connecting South Gloucestershire programme is all about bringing faster broadband to areas where it isn’t economically viable for commercial companies to provide it.
Our aspiration is to
- deliver superfast broadband* to all premises across South Gloucestershire by 2020;
- support businesses and residents in embracing and optimising the use of broadband as part of everyday life;
- continue to investigate new funding opportunities to support our aspiration to provide all premises in South Gloucestershire with access to superfast broadband;
- demand stimulation for all three Phases, which will increase take-up of superfast broadband enabling implementation clawback to enable further investment into our programme to delivery further coverage;
- work with commercial companies to encourage superfast broadband infrastructure investment;
- work with the Mobile Network Operator market to encourage wider exploitation of 4G and 5G data coverage throughout South Gloucestershire to complement broadband infrastructure.
For more information on our strategic approach, please refer to the Local Broadband Plan.
*superfast broadband is capable of delivering greater than 24 megabits per second (Mbps).