INTERNET users in Dursley are to receive a boost as the area gets set to be upgraded to extra fast broadband.

Communications giants BT are rolling out the fibre optic upgrade to another 16,000 homes in Gloucestershire, starting in the spring.

As well as Brimscombe and Thornbury, Dursley businesses and households will be able to take advantage of much faster internet speeds.

The average internet speed in the UK is 9Mbps (mega-bytes of information sent per second) according to Ofcom.

However one type of installation becoming available, where the fibre optic cables are delivered to street cabinets (green or grey boxes often found on the side of the pavement), can offer speeds of 80Mbps.

Alternatively, fibre cables can be run straight to homes and businesses, which could deliver speeds of up to 330Mbps.

The latest investment takes the number of Gloucestershire homes and businesses connected to the fibre network to 215,000.

It is all part of BT’s £2.5 billion high-speed fibre broadband network expansion, which it aims to make it available to two thirds of the country.

Len Miller, director of Dursley computer software development company Inforoute Ltd, believes it will be a great boost to them.

"Our company hinges on using the internet, all our software is run from it.

"Our business depends on us and our customers being able to use the internet swiftly so I think that what BT are doing is great."

BT’s South West regional director, Jon Reynolds, said: "This latest major investment will help Gloucestershire overcome the current economic challenges and take full advantage of the upturn when it comes.

"Digital technology is fundamental to how we live and work and high-speed communications will become even more essential in the years ahead."

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, who has lobbied for enhanced broadband in the constituency, welcomed the news but said there was still work to do.

"We still have some rural areas who have yet to benefit from this upgrade," he said.

"I will continue to campaign until all the constituency has the same level of service which is essential for rural communities and businesses."