Ten thousand homes and businesses in dozens of villages around the Dorchester and Weymouth area will have access to fibre broadband by Christmas.

This will bring the total number of premises with access to the technology as a result of the Superfast Dorset programme to almost 20,000.

Superfast Dorset announced that the second phase of the project roll-out will include work in the exchange areas of Abbotsbury, Dorchester, Maiden Newton, Martinstown, Preston, Puddletown, Upwey and Warmwell.

Villagers from around Dorchester and Weymouth gathered to hear when the project will be coming to them at an event last night at Frampton village hall.

This second phase builds on the work of the private sector which has already brought faster, more reliable broadband to most of Dorset’s towns and the project’s first phase which is bringing it to Bridport this summer and has made the high-speed technology available in Charmouth and Wootten Fitzpaine.

Councillor Jill Haynes, Cabinet member for adult social care said: “Gaining access to the fibre network will be a huge opportunity for residents and businesses in these communities.

“For a vast number of micro businesses in rural West Dorset who need faster, more reliable broadband to make their living, Superfast Dorset is delivering a step change.

“We want to encourage everyone to find out about the benefits of faster, more reliable broadband so they can boost their business, stay connected and make the most of a range of support and services that are available for them.”

The news of roll-out has been welcomed by local business leaders. Alison Moore, president of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “The roll-out of superfast broadband across much of Dorchester and in the surrounding areas is very helpful to business, enabling our local businesses to compete with those in urban areas.

“Our many brilliant creative businesses who use large size files tell me that faster upload and download speeds will lead to real increases in their productivity. “This in turn could lead to more custom and, so, more local jobs. “I am aware of areas that do not have good broadband speed and I do hope that as network capacity is freed by those who move onto superfast, the legacy is that customers have a better connection.”

Since the £31.75million partnership was announced last year, engineers from BT’s local network business, Openreach, have been surveying the network in order to ensure that the roll-out of the new technology is carried out in the most cost effective and efficient manner.

Grant Munn, BT programme manager for Superfast Dorset, said: “Superfast Dorset has been making strong progress since it was launched less than a year ago.

“We are reaching out to many more rural communities.”

High speed fibre broadband will boost the competitiveness of local businesses as well as providing new learning and entertainment opportunities for households.”

The Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology being used in this second phase can deliver download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps through fibre running to a fibre optic street cabinet.

According to regulator Ofcom, the average download speed in Dorset is 10.9Mbps.

Once in place, the fibre optic network is available on an open wholesale basis to all broadband providers, which will ensure competitive pricing and a wide choice of suppliers for local households and businesses.

The Superfast Dorset partnership aims to have made superfast broadband available to 95 per cent of the county’s premises by the end of 2016.

A new map was unveiled at the Frampton event to show all the areas where fibre services will be available by Christmas and where the project plans to go next year.

Announcements of other communities to benefit from faster, more reliable broadband will come phase by phase throughout the three year deployment. Register to receive an email when fibre broadband is available in your area at www.dorset foryou.com/superfast.

The interactive map is now available online.