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Wiltshire Online update

June 16, 2017 3:10 PM

The Wiltshire Online programme is designed to provide a fibre broadband service to those premises that commercial providers consider to be financially non-viable - about 40% of the county. The council's approach is designed to deliver fibre broadband to the greatest number of premises for the budget available.

To date over 85,000 homes and businesses have access to fibre broadband due to Wiltshire Online.

The Wiltshire Online programme must comply with EU State Aid law to ensure public money is spent appropriately. The areas that were not going to be targeted commercially formed what is known as the 'Intervention Area'.

Once the Intervention Area had been defined, the council's commercial delivery partner designed the rollout. In 2012 the broadband gap in Wiltshire was significant so the rollout was designed on a 'Best Value for Money' basis - to bring broadband to as many premises as possible with the funds available.

WC signed a contract with British Telecom (BT) in January 2013. Phase 1 is now 'build' complete and we are in the contract closure phase.

A second contract with BT commenced in March 2016 and will bring a superfast fibre service to more than 5,000 premises. More than a third of those able to access the new technology as a result of the Wiltshire Online programme have already opted for an upgrade. This high demand has helped to trigger further reinvestment through the county's partnership with BT. An additional 5,000 premises will be delivered under Contract 2, bringing the total Phase 2 premises being reached to 10,000. The build of these additional premises will begin in July 2017 with completion anticipated September 2018.

Wiltshire secured £2m from BDUK's South West Ultrafast Fund and £1m match funding has been secured from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP).

Following a competitive procurement process, the contract to deliver Ultrafast broadband in the north of the county has been awarded to Gigaclear Plc and the contract to deliver the service in the south of the county has been awarded to British Telecommunications Plc.

Both contracts will start to see delivery in 2018 / 2019 and collectively will deliver an Ultrafast service to over 7,500 premises across Wiltshire.

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Better Broadband Subsidy Scheme

This is intended to deliver central government's Universal Service Commitment to ensure all homes and businesses have access to download speeds of at least 2Mbps. If premises are not in any current plans to receive a fibre broadband service (either through Wiltshire Online or as part of a commercial build) and currently receive less than 2Mbps, then the Better Broadband Scheme might be an option.

This scheme can offer support towards the cost of the equipment and installation of a wireless or satellite broadband connection. If premises are eligible, the resident will be issued with a code that can be redeemed with approved suppliers and which is worth £300 - £350 towards the initial cost. The vouchers be used for community solutions if there are multiple premises with access to speeds of less than 2Mbps.

More information and an online application form can be found on the Wiltshire Online website on the 'Better Broadband Scheme' page.

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Further information about the Wiltshire Online programme including a postcode checker and FAQs can be found at - www.wiltshireonline.org.

If you have any specific queries you can contact the team via broadband@wiltshire.gov.uk

On the website there is also an option for residents to register their details with Wiltshire Online. The team will then email when fibre broadband is available.