CHARMOUTH and Wootton Fitzpaine have become the first Dorset villages to benefit from the multi-million pound Superfast Dorset broadband programme.

More than 400 homes and businesses in the two communities now have the opportunity to take up faster, more reliable broadband services for the first time. More properties will be connected in the coming weeks.

In total, the programme will deliver fibre broadband to almost 80,000 properties in Dorset.

A reception to mark the milestone in the roll-out will be held in Charmouth on Friday when leader of West Dorset District Council Robert Gould will help switch on a new roadside cabinet.

Cllr Gould said: “Superfast broadband is vital for West Dorset’s future economy and for our residents. It will make it easier for people to work from home, do business online and also download films and television. This is why West Dorset District Council has invested £1.3 million to help get superfast broadband to parts of our areas that would otherwise have missed out.”

Grant Munn, BT’s programme manager for Superfast Dorset, said: “The arrival of fibre broadband is one of the most important investments in Dorset in recent times.”

The project is worth more than £30m. Dorset councils, the government and BT are all contributing.

Existing broadband connections do not upgrade automatically. Customers will have to contact their broadband provider and buy a superfast service. The network is available on an open wholesale basis to all broadband providers, thereby ensuring competitive pricing and a wide choice of suppliers for local households and businesses.