MORE than 10,000 people across Worcestershire have demanded faster broadband - amid claims residents who lose out on quicker speeds will be “furious”.

Council chiefs have revealed they are just under a month away from clinching a deal with a private sector provider - widely expected to be BT - for an £11.8 million overhaul of internet connections.

Under the agreement, 90 per cent of all homes and businesses will get superfast broadband by 2015 - enough to download all data and watch TV, music videos and films.

During a Q&A session at County Hall, some politicians said they wanted it go further and aim for 100 per cent of Worcestershire.

During the debate Pauline Harris, the county council’s programme for manager for broadband, said the authority was well ahead of other parts of the UK on the project.

She said: “The Government laid out its ambition that 90 per cent of all homes should get superfast broadband, and awarded councils half a billion towards it, which local authorities were told to match.

“We’ve done that in Worcestershire and even extended the target, so the 90 per cent covers all businesses too - as far as we aware, the county is unique on that.

“When we did our survey on this over 10,000 people demanded faster broadband, to work from home, study from home, keep in touch with relatives abroad and run a business.”

Of the cash, Worcestershire has £3.3m from the Government and has added £8.5m from County Hall funds.

Mrs Harris said in the survey, 89 per cent of businesses said speeds were too slow, 95 per cent said quicker speeds would help them grow, and 33 per cent revealed it would lead to jobs being created.

She said 70 per cent of Worcestershire currently has superfast broadband of 24 megabytes per second - but it is confined to just urban towns like Worcester, Kidderminster, Redditch, Malvern and Bromsgrove.

“Outside of the urban towns, the majority of those rural areas in the county can’t get anything like that speed,” she said.

The debate took place during a meeting of the economy, environment and communities scrutiny panel at County Hall yesterday afternoon.

Councillor Ken Pollock, chairman of the panel, said some areas like Ombersley will be “furious” if they find they were left out at this stage.

Some rural areas will be left out in the hope the council can secure extra funding from DEFRA's rural communities fund, which has £20m in it, for hard-to-reach zones.

Councillor Paul Tuthill added: “90 per cent is a crude target, we need to get beyond that, because 10 per cent covers an awful lot of area.”

Mrs Harris said: “I take your point but the more rural you get, the more expensive it becomes.”

She also said Worcestershire's investment - which is among the most ambitious in the country - is modelled on the UK's leading areas for web speeds, such as Cornwall.

Council chiefs in Cornwall are well underway with a plan to get 100 per cent of their landscape onto the superfast speed, including people at sea, in the belief it will boost the private sector.

The council’s deadline for possible suppliers to install superfast cables expires this Friday, and a contract is due to be signed by Monday July 29.

It also needs approval from the Conservative cabinet, which is meeting later this month.

Under the timetable, work is expected to start in April 2014.