Page last updated at 14:34 GMT, Thursday, 26 March 2009

Counties get super-fast broadband

Fibre-optic cables
The news was welcomed by the region's development agency

Large parts of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire are set to benefit from super-fast broadband connections early next year, it has been announced.

Areas of Hemel Hempstead, St Albans, Watford and Luton will see internet speeds of 40 megabits per second.

This is more than 10 times faster than the speeds available to most homes at the moment.

The upgrading is part of communications firm BT's national investment of £1.5bn in fibre-based broadband.

BT's Openreach will make the fibre-based services available in early 2010 to nearly 23,000 homes and businesses in Hemel Hempstead, nearly 24,000 in St Albans and more than 20,000 in Watford.

It will also be available to more than 23,000 in Luton and more than 20,000 in the Luton suburb of Leagrave.

The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) welcomed the news that the region is to benefit from the faster broadband speeds.

Deborah Cadman, EEDA chief executive, said: "This is very good news for businesses and communities in the East of England.

"Businesses are using it to boost their competitiveness and find new customers, while households are benefiting from new entertainment and educational opportunities."

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