Huge new superfast broadband deal for Lincolnshire
Major international businesses will come to Lincolnshire and thousands of jobs will be created thanks to a £48 million investment in superfast broadband.
The huge countywide scheme has been described as Lincolnshire’s “single biggest infrastructure project ever”.
Almost 90 per cent of all buildings across the county will have access to fibre optic Broadband by early 2016.
The remaining 10 per cent will finally have standard broadband connections installed.
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It comes after Lincolnshire County Council this week signed a deal with telecoms giant BT to implement the infrastructure work.
Kelly Smith, executive member for finance and HR at the authority, revealed that the benefits to the local economy will be vast.
She said: “This is absolutely huge news for the whole of Lincolnshire.
“This will create several thousands of jobs, easily.
“We are encouraging BT to make use of local resources so we obviously hope the jobs will go to local people.
“Economically, this will see big firms locate sites in Lincolnshire and see others that are already here, stay here.
“This is long overdue for Lincolnshire.
‘There are so many benefits – there are too many to list’@Beardsley
“With the quality of life in this county coupled with new superfast broadband, this will give us the edge over other areas when it comes to big business looking to base themselves somewhere.
“Quite simply, this is the single biggest infrastructure project for Lincolnshire ever that has universal benefits.
“Of course there will be social benefits too, such as connection with friends.
“People will be able to do distant learning too – so our residents no longer have to leave the area to learn if they don’t want to.”
More than £14 million has come from central government, while Lincolnshire County Council has contributed £11.2 million.
Around £4 million has been raised by district councils while BT will spend £18.8 million itself.
Simon Beardsley, chief executive at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is wonderful news.
“Superfast Broadband means that Lincolnshire will have a speed that is more than two and a half times quicker than the current UK average.
“There are so many benefits – there are too many to list. But, overall, it has the potential to allow Lincolnshire businesses to become more productive, have better access to existing applications and utilise online tools that are essential for growth.
“Ultimately this will put our businesses on a competitive worldwide footing.”
The infrastructure work, mainly underground, will be split into eight phases.
Phase one will see work begin in Lincoln and in Spalding in October.
Large parts of Sleaford and Market Rasen will be tackled in January, 2014,before Spilsby and Horncastle are worked on in April 2014.
Much of the east coast will be covered in July, 2014, before work starts in Mablethorpe and Grantham in October, 2014.
Louth and Holbeach will see superfast broadband installed in January 2015 and Gainsborough, Market Deeping and Bourne will have likewise in April 2015.
Finally, phase eight will see a scattering of villages across the county receive broadband in September, 2015.