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Faster broadband for South Gloucestershire residents

Fibre optic lights
Image caption Residents will benefit from faster speeds

Residents in several areas of South Gloucestershire who have fought for faster broadband are to be upgraded, the BBC has learned.

The council has stepped in to cover the gaps left by the commercial rollout of standard and superfast broadband.

Public money will be used to invest in areas including Almondsbury, Didmarton, Falfield and Pilning.

South Gloucestershire Council, who have partnered with Wiltshire Council, will put £2.2m into the project.

The Almondsbury telephone exchange, which serves much of Bradley Stoke, failed to figure in BT Openreach's commercial rollout which promises to cover two thirds of the UK by 2014.

Many residents of the town, near Bristol, suffer from speeds slower than the national average and have campaigned for an upgrade.

Other exchanges to benefit include Abson, Badminton, Marshfield, Rangeworthy and Wickwar.

'Delighted'

Stephen Horton, who has led the campaign in Bradley Stoke, said this was "good news" but added residents now want to know the exact speeds they will receive and when.

"This is something people in Bradley Stoke have been asking for for five or six years," he said.

"Finding out we're within the intervention area is good news I suppose, but there are still other questions to be answered, like are we going to get the superfast variant?"

Local Councillor Robert Jones is now calling on BT - chosen by the council as the preferred bidder for the state-aided project - to prioritise Bradley Stoke for the roll out.

He said: "I am delighted that Bradley Stoke residents will be among those to benefit from this funding.

"The responsibility now lies with BT to deliver on the contract and I urge them to prioritise Bradley Stoke and confirm as soon as possible the timescales and phasing involved in the superfast roll out."

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesman said some parts of the intervention areas may not be included if there is another provider there, or plans to be there within the next three years.

Some partially upgraded areas which will also fall within the intervention area include Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury, Downend, Bitton, Filton, Winterbourne and Kingswood.

The estimated completion date for the work is the end of March 2016.

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