New Forest, New Broadband
4,000 New Forest residents suffering from slow internet connection encouraged to apply for a special £1m upgrade fund.
08:27 03 August 2020
More than 4,000 residential properties in New Forest do not have access to fast and reliable broadband service. A recent survey shows that 3,809 properties have sub-superfast broadband speeds while 677 still deals with speeds below 2Mbps.
96per cent of Hampshire homes were included in the past £18million internet connectivity roll-out, a project that started in 2012 and ended last year. This leaves 4% of residents waiting for another government scheme that promises full coverage of the UK by 2025.
Glen Peacy, Hampshire County Council's lead on the roll-out of superfast broadband, confirms that a £1million funding will be made available to homeowners in need of an upgrade. The scheme allows people living in rural areas to apply for up to £3,000 worth of vouchers to purchase the needed equipment.
Mr Peacey said: "HCC's programme was only funded to reach 95per cent across the county, and we've got to 96per cent. The question is what we can do to help people in the country we are still not able to reach?
"The Covid-19 pandemic has shown how important it is to have access to reliable, fast broadband as being digitally connected is key to staying in touch with loved ones, working from home, and helping to stablise local businesses.
"This initiative is designed to get high-speed broadband to areas that commercial providers simply won't go to because of the costs involved."
Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman added: "As part of our plans to level up communities across the UK, we're prioritising the economic and social benefits of gigabit-capable broadband to rural areas.
"I encourage people and businesses in these areas to check if they're eligible for a voucher to boost their broadband with these next-generation speeds."