Rutland is leading the way in the UK for the take-up of fibre broadband, it was announced on Wednesday.
Latest figures from the Digital Rutland partnership reveal fibre broadband is already being used by more than four out of ten households and businesses across the county.
The 43 per cent Rutland take-up figure is higher than any other county in the country and the number is continuing to grow.
Digital Rutland is a multi-million pound partnership between Rutland County Council, BT and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).
The news comes as the Government celebrates more than three million UK homes and businesses having access to superfast broadband. The national rollout is on track to reach 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 and is now reaching around 5,000 additional premises every day.
Bill Murphy, BT managing director of next generation access, said: “Digital Rutland is a major success story and a shining example of how the public and private sectors can work together to achieve just about anything.
“The council was one of the very first to recognise the opportunity that fibre broadband provides and has been an enthusiastic, determined, and committed partner. The end result of this hard work is the best take-up rates for fibre broadband anywhere in the country. For that, Rutland should be very proud.”
Deputy leader of Rutland County Council Terry King (Con) said everyone was delighted the local community had backed the project with “passion and enthusiasm”.
He said: “Faster broadband was something we knew was important for Rutland. Thousands of homes and businesses have seen their online fortunes transformed and the good news is there’s more to come.”
A second phase of work between Rutland County Council and BT, worth £1.1m and extending coverage to a further 900 homes and businesses, has also been announced. This will mean that 94.6 per cent of homes and businesses in the county will have access to fibre broadband
The new agreement builds on the initial Digital Rutland contract signed in 2012, which was completed earlier this year. Included in phase two are some of the more hard-to-reach areas in the county such as Barleythorpe, Bisbrooke, Braunston and Pickworth. Further details of coverage and speeds for individual properties and postcodes will be available following survey work.
Implementation is expected to get underway in April 2016. Rutland County Council and BT are also exploring solutions for the remaining properties with the aim of ensuring that all Rutland homes and businesses can access speeds of at least 2Mbps.
Since the Digital Rutland project was launched three years ago, all 10 telephone exchanges in the county have been upgraded to fibre and 47 new green roadside fibre cabinets installed.
In four Rutland telephone exchanges, more than half of all households and businesses served have upgraded to fibre. Across the East Midlands, six Rutland exchanges are among the top ten for fibre broadband take-up.
The end result is that more than 5,000 homes and businesses across the county are now using fibre broadband.
For more information visit www.rutland.gov.uk/digitalrutland.