Digital Derbyshire is a £27.67 million programme to deliver the county's biggest ever broadband transformation.
The council is spearheading Digital Derbyshire and has signed a contract with BT to make fibre broadband available to a further 88,000 premises across the county, bringing access to more than 95 per cent of homes and businesses by 2016. The project builds on BT's existing commercial fibre deployment in the county.
The project aims to ensure that the remaining premises will also see an uplift in speed and deliver a minimum of 2Mbps or more to almost all homes and businesses, fast enough to use online services such as BBC iPlayer.
Council Leader Councillor Anne Western said:
"Residents and businesses have told us in their thousands that they want a better broadband service in Derbyshire − we've listened and are making it happen."
"A fast and reliable broadband service is as important as good road and rail links for businesses in the modern day that's why we've made it one of our priorities.
"It's vital that our businesses − including those in a rural location − are at least on a level playing field with other areas of the UK and further afield to be able to maintain and create jobs in a thriving Derbyshire economy."
Councillor Joan Dixon, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Economy and Transport, said:
"This is a significant milestone in the county council's work to make sure fast and reliable broadband is available across Derbyshire.
"I am delighted with the outcome achieved for Derbyshire with the support of residents and businesses. We have exceeded expectations and the programme will have a huge impact on the economy and in closing the digital divide."
Bill Murphy, BT's Managing Director, Next Generation Access, said:
"Increasingly broadband is at the heart of everything we do − both for work and pleasure and this project will mean a huge step forward for the county as a whole.
"Small employers dominate the county's economy with more than 80 per cent employing less than ten people. In today's economy a fast and reliable broadband service is vital for their success, and for attracting new inward investment to Derbyshire, which in turn will help to stimulate jobs and growth throughout the county."
We chose to work in partnership with BT on our Digital Derbyshire programme after an extensive procurement process using the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework.
BT is contributing £12.87 million to the project, we're contributing £4.9 million. A further £7.4 million is coming from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds as well as £2.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Engineers from Openreach, BT's local network division, are surveying locations around the county and analysing the best way to roll out the network and to identify which areas of the county will be upgraded for fibre broadband. There will be a phased approach to the roll-out, with the first areas predicted to be upgraded in 2014.