By Geoff Berkeley Thursday 08 August 2013 Updated: 09/08 09:38
THOUSANDS of homes and businesses across Redditch are poised to benefit from a multi-million pound investment in high speed broadband.
Frustrations over slow internet connections are set to come to an end after Worcestershire County Council unveiled its Superfast Broadband project with BT.
The £20million scheme, which was launched earlier this week, will be rolled out to more than 90 per cent of the county's homes and businesses within the next three years, delivering download speeds of up to 80mbps - about ten times faster than standard connections.
Deputy county council leader Simon Geraghty said he believed it was a 'good deal' for taxpayers, who will contribute £8.5million to the total cost of the project, while the Government and BT will fund £3.35million and £8.9million respectively.
"In challenging financial circumstances it is fair for people to say why are you investing in broadband and is this really a
priority?" Coun Geraghty said.
"We know it is a fairly rural county, but we need to compete - not just locally or nationally, but internationally. And making sure our infrastructure is good and we have got good quality broadband is a number one priority for us."
Coun Geraghty also revealed it could bring an extra 1,000 jobs to the county once businesses have felt the benefit of increased broadband speeds.
Ken Wigfield, regional chair of the Federation of Small Business, said he knew of a number of cases where people had lost out on business due to the speed of their broadband.
"We know already businesses have left and refused to come to Worcestershire because of the lack of speed, but this investment should be able to capture those," he added.
"We had an example a few weeks ago where two companies left an office block because the nature of their businesses demanded high speed broadband and they were not getting it, but this investment would bring that and I believe it would bring huge growth to individual businesses."
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access at BT, added: "This will be a huge engineering challenge - the amount of work we have to do is immense, but we are very confident we will be able to deliver this on time and to budget.
"Although Worcestershire has hit the Government's objective of getting to over 90 per cent, nobody wants to stop there. We want to keep going."
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