Column by Toby Savage, the leader of South Gloucestershire Council.

Unlike many of our neighbouring authorities, such as Bristol, Gloucestershire or Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire is not centralised around a city, but instead consists of a variety of towns, villages and hamlets - each with their own unique features, character and charm.

But while it is this plethora of communities that give each of us a sense of identity, having the connectivity between us important. One of those key aspects of connectivity, that links you to the person next door, as much as it does to the person on the other side of the word, is better access to the internet.

Commercial providers such as Openreach and Virgin Media are responsible for providing residents with access to superfast fibre broadband, and public funding cannot legally be spent in areas where it is already available, but exceptions can be made as you go out to the more rural ‘intervention areas’ such as the northern parts of South Gloucestershire, where the harder to reach homes and businesses require more resource.

As someone who grew up and went to school near Thornbury, and with much of my family still living in the area, you don’t need to remind me how long the wait to get connected can be. Having connection cut out at the worst time, buffering putting a pause on a family film or that final important email failing to send is a nightmare.

The Council has made it a priority to push for maximum coverage, with almost 22,000 residences and businesses getting the upgrade since 2013, and more than 26,000 by the end of the next stage of rollout - an astounding 97 per cent coverage.

Having recently secured a further £900,000 from Government, we aim to push this even further and will continue to work towards full coverage.