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Fibre broadband will soon go live in rural parts of the Isle of Wight, allowing homes and businesses to benefit from super-fast download speeds.

The first communities to benefit from the multi-million pound partnership between the Isle of Wight Council and BT have been announced.

Customers in parts of Shalfleet, Gurnard, Whippingham, Brighstone, Shorwell and Merstone will be able to access fibre broadband during summer 2014.

By next year, 20,000 homes and businesses in rural parts of the isle will have access to super-fast broadband via BT's next-generation network.

The Isle of Wight Council has provided £2.4 million to part-fund the rollout of super-fast broadband in parts of the countryside.

This is in addition to the £2.4 million received from Broadband Delivery UK, and BT's own investment.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Isle of Wight Council Executive Member for Economy and Tourism, said fibre broadband will be "a springboard from which the island’s economy can grow".

"Homes and businesses in some of our towns are already seeing the benefits of super-fast broadband and we are delighted that work is starting to connect the largely rural parts of the island," she stated.

"Having fast internet speeds across the whole island is not only vital to the success of our small businesses, it is also key to attracting inward investment."

Cllr Smart said this is a "key priority" for the council, particularly as it looks to deliver more council services online.

Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next-Generation Access for BT, explained that the broadband provider has committed £2.7 million to build and operate the rural network.

He said this builds on BT's commercial investment, which has already made fibre broadband available to around 49,000 urban premises.

"Faster broadband will also help local businesses grow, attracting inward investment and boosting the local economy," Mr Murphy stated.

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