Broadband speeds are set to increase

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Buffering broadband could soon be a thing of the past after the government approved an ambitious £15 million update to the Derbyshire network.

The ‘Digital Derbyshire’ programme is one of the first in the country to be given the green light to upgrade.

Cllr Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Securing fast and reliable broadband for Derbyshire is one of our priorities and approval of our plans is great news.

“Increasingly broadband is at the heart of everything we do – both for work and pleasure – and this will mean a huge step forward for the county as a whole.”

The plans will mean that over 180,000 homes and businesses where there is currently no broadband connection – or where speeds are very slow – will soon benefit from the improved infrastructure.

Digital Derbyshire’s focus will be to deliver broadband speeds over 24Mbps across 90 per cent of the county and 20Mbps to the remaining 10 per cent by 2015.

Cllr Parkinson said: “For our residents it will make everyday life easier.

“It could be working from home through to personal use such as home banking, keeping in touch with relatives overseas, or using the internet for entertainment.”

The permisiion for the project did not come easy, though.

Over 6,000 people helped fight the council’s case by completing their broadband survey and Cllr Parkinson added how ‘grateful’ he was to the volunteer broadband champions who have done ‘great work’ in their community.

Areas of Derbyshire where broadband isn’t up to speed are known as the ‘white areas’ and these are as follows;

Amber Valley has 32, 607 homes and businesses that are not up to speed. Bolsover has 23, 036, Chesterfield has 15,061, Derby has 4,599, Derbyshire Dales have 34,343, Erewash has 9,918, High Peak has 22,223, North East Derbyshire has 25,359 and South Derbyshire has 16,027.

Now Derbyhire County Council is tasked with securing and approving a private sector partner to deliver the Digital Derbyshire project.

Cllr Parkinson said: “This project will support our work to bring investment and jobs to the county.

“It will help existing businesses to grow and gives Derbyshire the right infrastructure to attract new businesses that are dependant on 21st Century technologies.”