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More calls for fast broadband in Worcestershire
MORE than 10,000 people across Worcestershire have demanded faster broadband amid claims that residents who lose out on quicker speeds will be furious.
Council chiefs have revealed that they are just under a month away from clinching a deal with a private sector provider widely expected to be BT for an 11.8 million overhaul of internet connections.
Under the agreement, 90 per cent of all homes and businesses will get superfast broadband by 2015 enough to download all data and watch TV, music videos and films.
During a Q&A session at County Hall, some politicians said they wanted to go further and aim for 100 per cent of Worcestershire.
During the debate Pauline Harris, the county council s programme manager for broadband, said the authority was well ahead of other parts of the UK on the project.
The Government laid out its ambition that 90 per cent of all homes should get superfast broadband and awarded councils half a billion for the scheme which local authorities were told to match.
We ve done that in Worcestershire and even extended the target so the 90 per cent covers all businesses too.
As far as we are aware, the county is unique on that.
When we did our survey on this more than 10,000 people demanded faster broadband to work from home, to study from home, keep in touch with relatives abroad and run a business.
Worcestershire has received 3.3m from the Government and added 8.5m from County Hall funds.
Mrs Harris said that in the survey, 89 per cent of businesses said speeds were too slow, 95 per cent said quicker speeds would help them grow and 33 per cent revealed it would lead to job creation.
She said 70 per cent of Worcestershire currently has superfast broadband of 24 megabytes per second, but it is confined to just urban areas like Worcester, Kidderminster, Redditch, Malvern and Bromsgrove.
Outside of the urban towns, the majority of rural areas in the county can t get anything like that speed, she said.
Councillor Ken Pollock, chairman of the environmental panel, said some areas like Ombersley, near Droitwich, will be furious if they find that they were left out at this stage.
Coun Paul Tuthill said: Ninety per cent is a crude target.
We need to get beyond that because 10 per cent covers an awful lot of area.
Mrs Harris said: I take your point, but the more rural you get the more expensive it becomes.
The council s deadline for possible suppliers to install superfast cables expires on Friday and a contract is due to be signed by Monday, July 29.