Worcestershire broadband is on track for a major refresh after the council announced plans to bring fibre to the final 4% of unconnected homes in the county.
Two new schemes launch this week.
First, a joint funding project called a Local Body Partnership will earmark funds to install fibre broadband in the county’s most remote towns and villages.
Next, a Business Connection Voucher Scheme will offer companies up to £1,500 to meet 50% of the cost of installing a new fibre broadband connection.
The council has set aside £500,000 to support communities through the scheme.
It’s expected this money will be used to contribute towards funds raised by individual communities to make fibre broadband available.
Council leaders said 94% of premises in Worcestershire could access broadband with download speeds of at least 30Mbps.
Local resident Stuart Yorke-Brooks, who lives in Broughton Green near Droitwich, said the funds released during this programme would revolutionise internet connections near his home.
“Broughton Green is a tiny village and would never be economically viable for connection through the Superfast Worcestershire programme or commercial deployment.
“The co-funding scheme is a way communities like ours can get some financial support, which we can combine with our own funding to get our village connected.
“High-speed broadband promises to touch and improve on nearly every aspect of modern-day life. This will have a significant impact on all members of our community, whether they are school children accessing online educational material, companies running businesses or residents working from home.”
The council said it was now looking for extra funding from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to add more broadband coverage.
Cllr Ken Pollock, Cabinet Member responsible for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “Bringing the latest technology to the final four per cent of Worcestershire premises is challenging and requires innovative solutions.
“Our co-funding scheme for communities and the voucher scheme for businesses are just two of the ways where we are working hard to ensure that even our most rural communities have access to superfast broadband.
Steve Haines, Openreach’s Managing Director of Next Generation Access, said bringing new tech to remote communities was becoming inreasingly important.
“Whether it’s streaming TV in the home, doing homework online, or downloading large files in the office – superfast broadband makes doing anything online faster.”
Residents and businesses can check whether they are eligible for a broadband upgrade at Superfast Worcestershire.