THOUSANDS of homes and businesses in Hyndburn, Ribble Valley, and Pendle will have faster broadband speeds by the end of the year under the latest phase of a Lancashire County Council/British Telecom project.

Work began this week on the second phase of Superfast Lancashire, the ambitious, multi-millionpound project to make superfast broadband available throughout the county.

Engineers have begun planning and building the next part of the high-speed fibre network to serve Hurst Green, Burscough, Carnforth, Bolton-le-Sands, Great Eccleston, and Scarisbrick.

Around 4,600 homes and businesses will get access to fibre broadband with download speeds of up to 80 megabits per second and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps.

This work will also see substantial investment to extend access to faster broadband for 5,500 premises in Accrington, Church, Clayton-le-Moors, Bamber Bridge, Higher Walton, Lostock Hall, Penwortham, Longridge, Nelson, Barrowford, Fence, Poulton and Staining.

Engineers from BT Openreach will start work laying around 120km of optical fibre cable and installing nearly 100 new fibre broadband cabinets throughout the area.

It is a partnership between Lancashire County Council and BT with funding from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, as well as the European Regional Development Fund, Blackburn with Darwen Council and Blackpool Council.

It will bring high-speed broadband to 97 per cent of the county’s homes and businesses by the end of 2015. County council leader Jenny Mein said: “Superfast Lancashire is vital for the county and it will ensure our people and businesses can benefit from the next generation of superfast broadband. The latest phase will bring those benefits to 10,000 more homes and businesses this year. By the end of 2015, 97 per cent of the county will have access to superfast broadband, putting Lancashire in the vanguard of the digital revolution.”