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Connected Counties Newsletter 13

Wednesday 21st June, 2017


Newsletter 13

Connecting Counties broadband boost for more communities

Many more communities across Herts and Bucks are set to benefit from the roll-out of superfast broadband – thanks to high demand for the high-speed fibre technology by local households and businesses.

More than 40 per cent of customers across the two counties have already opted to sign up to services rolled out by the partnership, triggering a ‘Gainshare’ award under the terms of the contract with BT which is now being used to extend the fibre roll-out further.

The extension will lead to more than 7,700 premises being able to order faster fibre broadband, with around 6,000 premises which will be able to achieve superfast speeds of more than 24Mbps. The extension is planned to run until December 2019.

Details of the new areas being added will become available during the programme at www.connectedcounties.org as the programme progresses, or you can email info@connectedcounties.org for more information about your area.


Demand for high-speed fibre broadband soars with Connected Counties.

More people in Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire are signing-up for high-speed fibre broadband than ever before thanks to the work of the Connected Counties programme.

Connected Counties is a multi-million pound partnership between Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire Local Authorities, BDUK, Local Enterprise Partnerships and BT. The programme has made fibre-optic broadband technology available to more than 64,000 homes and businesses across the two counties and will continue to deliver next generation broadband access over the next two years.

Figures announced recently show a growing number of homes and businesses using the faster connections in Bucks and Herts. For Connected Counties contract 1, broadband take up figures have doubled in the last 18 months and currently stand at more than 40%. That’s double the amount of homes and businesses that have now ordered an improved broadband service.

To check if you can order a faster broadband service go to the When and Where page on our websitehttp://www.connectedcounties.org/


Connected Counties website

The Connected Counties team has re-launched the Connected Counties website at www.connectedcounties.org.uk .

We have worked closely with BT to streamline and improve the information available to residents and businesses in Bucks and Herts about the ongoing rollout of Broadband across the two counties.

The new website has been designed to make it easier to find information about areas which have already formed part of the part of the rollout, and those areas which will be included in future phases. The site is intended to be more user friendly on a range of devices (smartphone/tablet/PC) to ensure it suits the needs of the widest possible audience.

There are a range of new areas on the website, including a new FAQs section, information about the Better Broadband scheme for customers whose current speed remains under 2mbps http://www.connectedcounties.org/better-broadband-scheme


Is your area fibre enabled already?

We are working hard to continue rolling out Superfast broadband across the two counties.

To check if you’ve already got access, or if you are included in our current plans you can check on the Connected Counties Where and When checker.  This will tell you if you’ve already got access, or your status:http://www.connectedcounties.org/

If you are in an area where we’ve already rolled out a service then you can check exactly what retail broadband packages are available in your area on the Ofcom approved ISP checker here https://www.cable.co.uk/connectedcounties/

There is also a guide for residents from Ofcom also gives useful advice on purchasing broadband and phone packages:https://www.ofcom.org.uk/advice-for-businesses/choosing-a-service-and-provider


Low Carbon Workspaces grants



Grants to help businesses cut their energy bills       

Businesses with fewer than 250 employees can access grants of up to £5,000 to help them improve energy efficiency.

This is through the Low Carbon Workspaces programme which can fund things like:

  • LED lighting
  • Double glazing
  • Cavity wall insulation
  • Energy efficient boilers
  • Energy efficient printers
  • And much more

Visit www.lowcarbonworkspaces.co.uk to express an interest in a grant.


Stay up to date with email updates from Hertfordshire County Council

Thousands of Hertfordshire residents are already signed up to receive email updates from the county council and you can too.

There are a range of topics on offer and you can choose to receive updates about the services and issues that matter the most to you.

The new service is free and easy to use, and there is no limit to the number of topics you can sign up to. Topics include Highways, Libraries, Walking and much more.

It’s really quick and easy to sign up at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/updateme


The LEADER Programme

LEADER grants of between £5,000 – £100,000 are available to support business growth in rural areas.

Example projects eligible for funding include:

  • Farm shops
  • Farming & forestry machinery
  • Glamping
  • Local food initiatives
  • Food and drink processing
  • and many more.

Funding is available for a limited time only, so get in touch to find out more. Call Programme Manager Will Dallimore on 07802 411040 or visit www.leader-programme.org.uk


Buckinghamshire Business First

Buckinghamshire Business First is the Business Growth Hub for the county and provides the project management for the Connected Counties programme in Buckinghamshire.

Head of Skills & Business Support Heather Dean explains more:

“Buckinghamshire Business First is a business-led, business-focused not-for-profit organisation helping businesses grow, create jobs and find solutions to their problems. Membership is free, with almost 10,000 businesses in Buckinghamshire currently benefiting from:

  • Business support: face-to-face, online, by email or phone
  • Early notification of grant funding and support that boosts business growth
  • A website affording great promotional opportunities and a unique online profile on the Buckinghamshire business directory
  • Meeting rooms and hot desks with free Wi-Fi at our Saunderton, Aylesbury and Chesham hubs
  • An events programme helping you grow your network, find new customers and refresh your skills
  • Member offers: get special rates from other members and promote your business locally
  • An e-newsletter full of business news, legislation, funding opportunities and events

“Join Buckinghamshire Business First at www.bbf.uk.com/packages. Email BusinessSupport@bbf.uk.com or call 01494 927144 for business support queries.”


Are you having issues getting fibre broadband to your community?

Advice on initial feasibility, how to form a community group, decide the best solution as well as legal, technology and funding issues can be found here.



Useful links

BT Broadband Availability Checker

Virgin Media Post Code Checker

Gigaclear Post Code Checker

Thinkbroadband Post Code Checker







Bringing BETTER broadband to homes
& businesses across Bucks and Herts