THERE could be light at the end of the tunnel for businesses and residents struggling with slow or non-existent broadband connections.
This week BT announced that the Spalding exchange is included in the latest phase of its fibre network roll-out, which it is hoped will cover two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.
The Openreach scheme can deliver broadband speeds of up to 40mbps – a huge leap from the current average of 6.8mbps.
It is hoped that homes which connect through the exchange will begin to benefit from the upgrade next year.
The announcement is another bit of good news for the area, which has a wide range of broadband hotspots and not-spots.
Lincolnshire County Council has vowed to provide high-speed coverage to 90 per cent of homes in the county by 2015, after pledging £10m of its own money to boost a £14.3m grant it was awarded earlier this year.
It hopes to make the service available to homes and businesses in rural areas which will be overlooked by commercial operators such as BT.
Kelly Smith, of the county council, said: “This is the first time we’ve had such a widespread project on this scale.
“We’re going to be installing fibre optics which aren’t there at the moment and upgrading equipment and exchanges – upgrading the basic infrastructure around the county.”
The council is now planning the best way to use the available money and is hoping to attract more investment from the commercial sector and local authorities to meet the full cost of the project, which could run to £50m.
The planning could take up to a year, with hopes a contractor could be appointed by the end of 2012.
And it’s been vowed that the council will be looking at other innovative ways of providing high-speed internet to the remaining ten per cent of homes who will not benefit from the project.