Royal Wootton Bassett is first Wiltshire town with superfast broadband

This Is Wiltshire: Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, Wiltshire Council deputy leader John Thomson and Bill Murphy, BT director Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, Wiltshire Council deputy leader John Thomson and Bill Murphy, BT director

Royal Wootton Bassett became the first town in Wiltshire to welcome superfast broadband when the wires went live today.

The new fibre broadband can reach speeds of more than 24mbps, so users will be able to stream videos without buffering and download content more easily and quickly.

Arthur Cooper, volunteer co-ordinator for the Digital Literacy project with Wiltshire Council which helps people to access digital technology, said the project will make a huge difference to elderly and vulnerable people who can often become isolated in the digital age.

He said: “It’s all about communication and people want to get online to stay in touch with their relatives through Skype.

“Superfast broadband will just make that easier.”

Resident Rachel Wise, 36, said her 15-year-old son was thrilled.

She said: “My teenage son will be absolutely delighted, he’s always nagging at me about the internet which he uses for his XBox, so he will be really pleased we have it in Bassett.”

It is also good for local businesses such as Sugar Rush, owned by Andrew and Diddie Morgan-Holmes.

Mr Morgan-Holmes said: “It’s good, I’m not on it at the moment but it’s good to know that it is in Bassett.”

Royal Wootton Bassett is the first town in a roll-out across the county thanks to a muliti-million pound partnership between Wiltshire Council, South Gloucestershire Council and BT.

The project also benefited from grants from the UK Government’s Superfast Britain programme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for broadband, said: “It’s fantastic that superfast broadband is now live in Royal Wootton Bassett.

“People often say that what they would most like us to do is get superfast broadband, so it’s wonderful that we are able to offer it now to the residents of Bassett.

“This will provide a real boost for residents and local businesses. We have worked hard with our partners to get to this stage and look forward to announcing more communities soon who will benefit from superfast broadband”.

Around 100 homes in the town will now be able to sign up to superfast broadband, with an expected 1,500 homes receiving the service by the end of January 2014.

By the end of March 2016 it is thought that some 1,500km of fibre cabling will be laid by BT.

The switch-on is part of a national initiative to see 95 per cent of the UK go live with superfast broadband by 2017 thanks to a £780 million investment from Broadband Delivery UK.

The project also benefited from grants from the government’s Superfast Britain programme and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, who was also on hand for the launch, said: “The switching on of super-fast broadband in the town is great news for both local residents and businesses.

“The roll out will happen fairly quickly in the area thanks to the partnership between Wiltshire Council and BT. Since they’re working together BT don’t have to apply for a contract.”

Following the launch officers from Wiltshire Council’s Online Team were on hand to talk to people about the broadband program and the Digital Literacy project.

For more information visit www.wiltshireonline.org

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