1st connections in Dorset Council Top-Up scheme
by Christine O’Grady
by Christine O’Grady
L-R Peter Wharf - Dorset Council, Ludo Skinner - Wessex Internet, Wowie and Paul Dunnings with lambs Wolfhanger Chestnut and Wolfhanger Quince, Adam Holloway - Wessex Internet gardenworks team.
Paul and Wowie Dunnings (pictured) live in one of the first villages to benefit from a Dorset Council and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funded programme to enable them to get connected to full fibre broadband. Wessex Internet is connecting villages via a community project set up to help rural residents take advantage of the government subsidised voucher scheme. Additional top-up funding from Dorset Council and Dorset LEP’s Getting Building Fund made the scheme possible.
Wowie said: “We live in the middle of nowhere. We were offered a 0.5 Mgbp download by another provider, and after posting a comment on social media, quite a few people came forward and told me about Wessex Internet. Then when we found out about the free connection helped in part by the top-up funding we were delighted.”
The government’s UK Gigabit Voucher Scheme allocates £1,500 to eligible homes and £3,500 to businesses in rural areas to cover installation costs. The scheme works by residents pooling together to raise enough interest to apply for vouchers. Unfortunately, the government funding alone is not always enough to reach the more remote areas. This is where the Dorset ‘top-up’ can make all the difference. The additional funds provided by Dorset Council and Dorset LEP enables residents to claim up to £2,500 and businesses up to £6,000.
Dorset Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Peter Wharf, said: “We are delighted to see the first fibre installation using Dorset top-up funding come to fruition. Seeing a rural community go from struggling on meagre broadband speeds to enjoying ultra-fast connections is exactly why we provided these additional funds.
“Without the Dorset top-up, communities like Fifehead St Quintin would still be forced to cope with inadequate broadband not fit for the 21st century. Our rural area must not be left behind in today’s digital world.”
It is anticipated that the scheme will open up hundreds of households and businesses across rural locations in Dorset to world class internet connectivity.
Wessex Internet has partnered with construction technology leader Render Networks.
Ultrafast broadband is on the way as Wessex Internet breaks ground in Woolston.
60 community sites from Blandford to Sherbourne will be connected to gigabit broadband.
Over 8,000 homes and businesses are set to benefit from the expansion of the network.