RESIDENTS from a Ribble Valley village are being urged to back a bid to have fibre broadband installed for local homes and businesses.

Openreach is asking the community of Whalley to get behind a bid to install fibre broadband and is urging residents and businesses to consider pooling broadband vouchers available from the UK Government to help extend the build even further.

Robert Thorburn, Openreach’s partnership director for the North, said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for Whalley to bring full fibre infrastructure to the very hardest-to-reach local addresses.

“We’re investing £12 billion to build full fibre broadband to 20 million homes – and more than three million of those will be in the toughest third of the UK – but we can’t upgrade the whole country alone. This latest support from government, alongside help to remove red tape and barriers that slow down the build, is vital.”

Residents who don’t already have access to a 100Mbps broadband service can check if they may qualify and pledge their voucher on the Connect my Community website.

The Government-led scheme, which ends in March 2021, allows eligible residents to receive up to £1,500 for rural homes and up to £3,500 for small and medium-sized businesses under the UK Government’s Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme.

Nigel Evans, MP for the Ribble Valley, backed the initiative, saying: “Now, more than ever, rural communities need fantastic connectivity to fully interact with the world. Full fibre technology will make a massive difference to local homes and businesses.

"It makes sense for the local build programme to be extended as far as possible, and I urge residents to consider pledging their vouchers for the common good and help us to make sure that nobody’s left behind.”

To claim vouchers which contribute towards the cost of building the new network, residents are asked to commit to ordering a full fibre service from a provider of their choice for at least 12 months once the new network is available.

The vouchers can be combined to extend the ultrafast, ultra-reliable network to premises in outlying rural areas which won’t be covered by private investment.