One of Derbyshire County Councils flagship programmes is Digital Derbyshire which is a funded Conservative commitment to deliver the biggest ever upgrade of broadband speeds and reliable services across the county, which needs the help of local residents and businesses as it continues to gathers pace. 

I have been privileged to spearhead Superfast Broadband together with over 6,500 people who helped Derbyshire County Council become one of the first Council’s to secure £7.39m from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK scheme by completing a survey following the launch of our Digital Derbyshire campaign in 2011. 

That public consultation exercise received the highest number of responses in the history of the county council, and was shortlisted for two National Public Sector Communications and Public Relations awards.

The county council has already committed over £1m to Digital Derbyshire and has underwritten the remaining match funding to ensure at least £14.78m will be spent across the county on delivering broadband improvements by 2015.  In the background, I continued to lobby British Telecom to add further exchanges to their industry national upgrade, and was successful in securing a number not original planned for.  Those communities are now benefiting from better broadband, and over this next three years Digital Derbyshire aims to make superfast broadband (up to 30mbs) accessible to 90% of 180,000 remaining Derbyshire premises, with a minimum of 2mbs available to the last 10% in the most rural parts of the county.

Digital Derbyshire is now working to procure a private sector telecoms partner who will be expected to invest their own money and technology to deliver our ambitious programme.  Labour have signalled their intention to review our broadband plan, but any deviation from our plan will simply cause delays, and keep Derbyshire in the slow lane.

To maximise our chances against all other council’s competing for Superfast Broadband, Digital Derbyshire must demonstrate a demand - both from households and businesses.   It is important that we all recognise that our local broadband plan will be competing with all the other county councils in England and now further, the Cities which have received funding under a totally separate grant scheme.

Let’s be honest, as an ex telecommunications engineer myself, the number of available fibre installation engineers are going to have to work flat out to upgrade the country’s exchanges, and by showing demand in Derbyshire, we can ensure those engineers work in our County ahead of other areas.

People and businesses can show their support and register for our no-obligation demand registration by completing a short on-line form at (opens in a new window)

‘’I know there is a real hunger for better broadband across the whole of Derbyshire and we have made it one of our priorities to deliver it.

"We're grateful to the thousands of people who have already helped us make great strides towards delivering the biggest ever transformation of broadband in Derbyshire by supporting our Digital Derbyshire campaign."

"I urge people to fill the form in and to help family and friends to do it too.’’

"The scenario is simple − the greater demand we can show for better broadband in Derbyshire, the more investment we will attract and the sooner we can see it being delivered.’’.

"It will only take residents and businesses a couple of minutes to complete our on-line form, and it will have a huge impact on the future of broadband in Derbyshire."

Visitors to (opens in a new window) can also sign up to the new Digital Derbyshire newsletter which will bring regular updates on the programme's progress.

If you do not have internet access to complete the form you can visit any Derbyshire County Council library and use a computer for free, or use Call-Derbyshire on 08456 058 058.

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