A project to make Surrey the best connected county in the country has hit the halfway mark.

The number of homes and businesses able to benefit from high-speed broadband service has reached 42,000.

The halfway point has come after Surrey County Council joined forces with BT to create a county-wide network to help firms do business online and ensure all communities get all the benefits of the digital world.

The project aims to reach the 84,000 premises not covered commercially.

The county council's goal is to give nearly everyone access by the end of 2014, compared with the national superfast broadband aim of 95% by 2017.

Once completed, the project could boost the local economy by up to £30 million a year, according to World Bank research.

Surrey County Council’s deputy leader Peter Martin said: “This is great news and confirms we’re well on the way to making Surrey the best connected county in the country by the end of the year.”

Coun Martin said: “The benefits are significant, both economically and socially. “Surrey’s economy will be boosted by up to £30 million annually, and homes will get fast, reliable internet access.

“We’ll now push on from this milestone to make sure nearly everyone in Surrey enjoys the benefits that high speeds offer.”