High hopes over superfast internet

Cllr Kevin Parkinson
Cllr Kevin Parkinson

EREWASH residents are being urged to help unlock at least £7.39m of funding to bring superfast broadband to the county.

Like many parts of the UK, Derbyshire suffers from patchy broadband coverage with some areas having no web access or limited capability.

The county council has been allocated the money from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK scheme to improve broadband access, but it must find the same amount in match-funding before the cash can be released.

The council wants residents and businesses to complete its Community Broadband survey.

More than 1,800 people have done so far, but Erewash has had the second lowest response rate in the county at just 4.8 per cent.

The authority is now offering the chance to win one of five £50 shopping vouchers to those who respond as an incentive.

Cllr Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “Both ourselves and Erewash Borough Council need to understand better what the current broadband experience is across Erewash and the more residents – and more importantly, businesses – that respond to the survey, the better.

“We are competing with all the other county councils in England but if we can demonstrate that everybody is behind this campaign it can only put us in a strong position.”

He added: “Although the Government have given us the pledge, if we can raise more money, say £10m, then I have confidence that we can encourage the Government to match that.

“The onus is now on us. Bringing fast and reliable broadband to Derbyshire is one of our key priorities and we really need people to share their experience to help us do this.”

To complete the survey, go to www.derbyshire.gov.uk/broadbandsurvey or call 08456 058 058 where an operator will fill in the survey for you over the phone.

Additional comments can be emailed to broadband@derbyshire.gov.uk