Focus switches to last five per cent for fast broadband, including villages near Fareham

Figures suggest a large decline in the amount of white collar jobs
Figures suggest a large decline in the amount of white collar jobs
The Bahn Thai in Fareham will soon become a Brazilian steakhouse and susha buffet restaurant Picture by Ian Hargreaves

Samba and sushi mix at new town restaurant

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GOVERNMENT pilot schemes to investigate how isolated rural areas can get superfast broadband have been welcomed by Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery.

Villages such as Droxford, Lower Upham and Curdridge, near Fareham, have not yet received superfast broadband because they either do not have enough subscribers or it is too costly to get the technology there.

Now the government is putting £10m into finding the best way of tackling the final five per cent.

Mr Hollingbery said: ‘There has been a considerable amount of understandable frustration from many of my constituents that superfast broadband is presently not coming their way by 2017.

‘These pilot schemes are most welcome because it may mean solutions for isolated communities across, not just Hampshire, but the whole country, could get this vital boost to the their rural economies sooner.’

Pilot schemes will look at alternative ways to deliver broadband such as using 4G mobile signal, providing direct fibre links and using satellite connections.

Mr Hollingbery’s comments follow the government announcement the rollout of superfast broadband has reached more than one million homes and businesses across the UK.

Hampshire’s superfast broadband programme has boosted broadband speeds at more than 14,500 premises.

The £13.8m county-wide rollout will extend superfast broadband to 90 per cent of the county’s homes and businesses by the end of 2015.

There are plans to extend that reach to 95 per cent by the end of 2017 with a £18.4m investment from government and the county council.

Council leader Roy Perry said: ‘With 60 live cabinets already offering superfast broadband services, Hampshire is on track to deliver access to 95 per cent of homes and businesses, which are not currently being covered by the commercial market.

‘Focus is now moving towards the final five per cent – those areas in the most remote and hardest-to-reach places that are not covered by existing plans.

‘The council has already made available a total of up to £15m to enable the market to be extended and £1m has been invested in a pilot project currently underway, to investigate the best way of tackling these hard-to-reach areas.’

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