The Current Situation
What’s the difference between fast and superfast broadband?
Fast is up to 24MB. Superfast is over 30 MB with some able to reach 100MB.
How can I check my current broadband speed?
Use one of the broadband speed testers like http://www.speedtest.net.
How can I find out who might be offering faster broadband over the next 12 months?
Use a broadband speed post code like www.broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk.
A number of suppliers are currently vying for your business in the conurbation including:
Indeed BT have just announced the upgrading of a number of exchanges over the next year either to their fast service or for fibre to the cabinet, their superfast service (infinity) including:
Southbourne, Dorchester, Weymouth, Blandford, Lytchett Minster.
Virgin are promising up to 100MB in some areas.
What if I am based in rural Dorset?
Dorset County is eligible for a £9.44M matched funded grant from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) in respect of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds. Our Local Broadband plan application has been submitted and the initial feedback is that it’s looking favourable – a green light in terms of readiness. We hope to hear in February /March. Then a supplier must be selected to match both the BDUK and locally sourced funds. In total approx £38M is likely to be made available for improving broadband infrastructure, with the project management costs being met by the local partners.
Will that be sufficient? Will parts of Dorset still have poor broadband?
Yes and No. The extent of the provision of superfast broadband infrastructure will be identified through the procurement process. The infrastructure will enable access, to but will not provide the “final mile” connecting from the infrastructure point to the premise. In most instances this will be provided via the Internet service provider (ISP) and the existing infrastructure provision. Reaching some of the more isolated and remote premises could be more difficult. In these cases a minimum speed of 2Mbps is the goal, which may be made available through a different type of provision.
Will parts of Dorset still have poor broadband?
Yes, unless we can drive up demand by demonstrating sufficient demand from businesses of all sizes. Indeed unless there is sufficient demand for superfast broadband it is very likely that BT will switch off the Weymouth and Portland connection leaving just fast broadband.
How can I keep up-to-date about progress?
Follow us on Twitter Digital Dorset and check the Dorset Chamber of Commerce’s news page.
What can I do?
I chair the Digital Dorset Taskforce and am on the BDUK Project Group. Your comments and input is vital.