Superfast broadband in rural Wiltshire
Earlier this year, some people participated in a postal survey from Wiltshire Council in relation to home or business internet connections and expressed an interest in being a volunteer for digital literacy.
We have news on its progress from Jenny Wilcockson (Digital Literacy Coordinator for Wiltshire Council)
We assured you that we’d be in touch in early autumn to let you know how our work is progressing. I’m therefore writing to you to explain the latest developments in our Wiltshire Online programme and to provide details about what will happen next. For further information about the results of the postal survey, please visit www.wiltshireonline.org If you would prefer a hardcopy of this report, please contact me.
The council is currently working on the procurement of superfast broadband that will reach at least 85%, possibly 90% of all premises within Wiltshire by 2015. We also aim to deliver standard broadband availability to all premises within this time. We hope to have the contract awarded for July – September of next year, after which we can start rolling out the superfast connection. We recognise that it’s mainly rural areas that do not have access to high speed connectivity and therefore supporting these communities will be a priority for us. We’re also looking to support local businesses who currently suffer from slow or unreliable connections.
At this moment in time, we are unable to say where we’ll be targeting this investment. We’ll need to get much further on with the procurement before we can get information about the cost and coverage of the rollout. We hope however, that our targets are of some reassurance to you and that support for the local economy and rural communities are high priorities for our programme.
The Wiltshire Online programme is not just about connectivity. It’s also about providing every adult in Wiltshire with the opportunity to learn the skills and access the technology they need to get online. That’s why in October 2011, I was appointed to the project as Digital Literacy Coordinator. It’s my job to make sure that by 2015, every adult in the county has had the chance to access the support, equipment, guidance and advice they need to become capable and confident users of technology.
To help ensure this happens, I’ll be recruiting a number of volunteers over the coming months to work in their local communities. These volunteers will be offering a range of computer help to local residents and small businesses, so that everyone in Wiltshire can benefit from being online. This volunteering programme will roll out across the county in 2012 – 13, so watch out for some volunteering opportunities coming near you soon!
Another exciting development was the launch of the Wiltshire Online website which went live in November. It’s our vision that over the coming months, this will become a comprehensive and authoritative resource for anyone seeking more information about the Wiltshire Online programme. Keeping you up to date with the latest developments in the project, the website will also provide a great range of computer advice and guidance, plus learning and teaching resources for our Wiltshire Online volunteers, local residents and small businesses. We’ll even be showcasing some of the best community work we come across. If you know of an individual or group who’s working hard to help people get online, we want to hear about it!
We’re currently putting the final touches to the website, ready for its launch in a week’s time. Be sure to log on and check it out on the 21st November. In the meantime, please get in touch if you’d like any further information about the Wiltshire Online programme. We’re very grateful for your input this far and hope to hear more from you in the future.
Digital Literacy Coordinator
Direct Line: 01225 793349
Fax Number: 01225 793348