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Superfast broadband 'will create thousands of jobs'

Published: 1 Mar 2013 16:300 comments

SUPERFAST broadband could bring more than 4,500 new jobs to Bracknell and Wokingham - but may only arrive in five years' time.

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A report by Adroit Economics Ltd estimates a total of 17,000 jobs could be created across the Thames Valley, including 2,254 in Bracknell and 2,450 in Wokingham.

These would be created as improved technology could allow more people to work from home - meaning businesses could spend the money they save on extra employees.

Cllr Rob Stanton, deputy leader of Wokingham Borough Council, said: "All this is a Berkshire project but it will benefit Wokingham. There are parts of the borough, including areas of Finchampstead, which will benefit from faster broadband.

"This is a major player in new business as many people work from home and it will be welcomed by residents.

"We must make sure it is in the four new Strategic Development Locations. We shouldn't be building 13,000 new houses without 21st century capabilities."

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Superfast Broadband refers to broadband connections of 20Megabits per second or above - up to speeds of 100 Megabits per second. The report states that improving internet access should help almost 1,000 students achieve better GCSE grades and found 90% of small businesses said faster broadband was important for their future.

At a meeting last Thursday, Wokingham Borough Council's executive voted in favour of delegating authority to the Superfast Berkshire Project Board to find a suitable provider of broadband to the county.

The council agreed to spend £182,553 on the project last year, the same as Bracknell Forest Council. Neighbouring authorities, Slough, Reading, Windsor & Maidenhead will also contribute to a total sum of £1.43m. This will be matched by Broadband Delivery UK - the central government agency tasked with achieving 100% coverage of broadband services at two megabits per second by 2015.

Cllr Angus Ross, Wokingham's executive member for finance, added it is important the council also looks to make sure 4G access for mobile phone users is strong across the borough.

The Adroit Economics Ltd report was commissioned by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Economic Partnership.

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