RESIDENTS can expect a new era of internet surfing after Swindon Council agreed to help pay for superfast broadband to come to the town.

A £3m project is set to provide 95 per cent of the town with the high-speed connection, after the council was told a bid to secure £1.5m from government body Broadband Delivery UK had been successful.

Priory Vale will be one of the first places to receive the high-speed connection and Steve Hall, 40, who lives in Eastbury Way, said he was delighted with the news.

“It’s obviously good news and the biggest thing is that they were able to get funding for it,” he said.

“The strange thing is that I thought it was funding that went to rural areas and this isn’t a rural area round here.”

But he said the connection was much needed in the area.

“I think it’s just a feature of modern life now,” he said.

“People want to stream their TV programmes online and there are a lot of businesses based in the area who will also benefit from it.

“It will just mean we can move along in the 21st century and be up to date.”

Earlier this summer, the council agreed to ring-fence £1.5m towards getting the required infra- structure installed.

A bid was submitted to Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the government’s company responsible for a national programme of superfast broadband, to match Swindon's contribution.

Coun Toby Elliott (Con, Priory Vale) said: “This is a great day for Priory Vale and residents across Swindon who have put up with a snail’s pace of internet for too long.

“I’m thrilled that the hundreds of people who signed my petition showed the strength of feeling, and that the demand for these services exists.”

Coun Dale Heenan, the cabinet member for strategic planning and sustainability, said: “For many local residents and local businesses, broadband internet is no different to a utility like water and gas.

“Councillors Elliott, Faramarzi and Edwards have worked closely with the Cabinet to show that broadband speeds in parts of Swindon like Priory Vale and our villages were a problem and helped find a solution.

“A report published last month showed that the speed of broadband can affect house prices, so this is good news for families, good news for local jobs and good news for home owners.”

There will be an open tender undertaken over the next six months to identify a commercial partner to complete the necessary infrastructure works. Work is expected to start within a year.