Full speed ahead with community sites set to receive gigabit broadband thanks to Dorset LEP

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Dozens of community buildings across rural north Dorset are to be connected to next generation gigabit-capable broadband.

It’s thanks to a Getting Building Fund allocation from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Left to right: Cllr Peter Wharf, Dorset Council’s Deputy Leader; Cecilia Bufton, Chair of Dorset LEP; Hector Gibson Fleming, Wessex Internet MD, and Nicola Brooke, Headteacher of Durweston School. The school has recently been connected to the latest broadband technology.

Sixty community sites, from Blandford to Sherborne and including schools, community centres, a health centre, council depots, farms and adult social care residential homes, will be connected to gigabit broadband by March 2022.

Following a competitive tender process, Blandford-based Wessex Internet has been awarded the contract to deliver full-fibre to the community buildings.

Lorna Carver

Lorna Carver, Dorset LEP Director, said: “Digital connectivity has been instrumental in helping our communities during the Covid-19 pandemic and will be vital in our recovery.

“Our Local Industrial Strategy for Dorset states that by 2030 we will lead a digital and cultural transformation across all communities.

“Projects such as this will help fulfil that ambition.

“This investment will bring much-needed improvement to broadband speeds in some of Dorset’s most rural areas, greatly benefitting the local economy.”

Cllr Peter Wharf, Dorset Council’s Deputy Leader, said: “This is fantastic news for the communities in this area.

“It will mean some of our most rural areas, that would never be covered commercially, will be able to access the next generation of gigabit capable broadband.

“This is not only good news for the community organisations, all of which provide vital services, but also to the surrounding residents and business who will now have greater access to full-fibre infrastructure.”

Building the network to the sites will bring many thousands of homes and businesses within reach of the new Wessex Internet network.

Residents and businesses in these areas will be eligible for further subsidy through gigabit vouchers funded by the government, Dorset Council and the Dorset LEP to offset the costs of installing full-fibre.

Hector Gibson Fleming, Managing Director of Wessex Internet, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this contract from Dorset Council and Dorset LEP.

“Not only to connect these important community sites, but to enable us to rapidly expand our network to the rural communities between Blandford and Sherborne, and connect more homes and businesses.

“We’re passionate about upgrading connectivity in the countryside and have already connected dozens of Dorset villages and hamlets to full fibre broadband.

“This will accelerate our work in this area and continue to expand our rapidly growing workforce in north Dorset.”

By: Andrew Diprose Dorset Biz News

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