THE CHANCELLOR of the Exchequer said today new technology being introduced to Salisbury is a "huge advantage" for the city.

It comes after Openreach announced today that it aims to deliver its 'Fibre First' programme in the city from April 2020, which will deliver fibre optic broadband cables from the exchange directly to more than 20,000 premises across Salisbury.

During a visit to the city, Mr Hammond today went to Salisbury Cathedral and Innovate Design on Endless Street, and was joined by Salisbury MP John Glen.

Mr Hammond said the technology was being introduced to the city so that Openreach, owned by BT, could "do their bit" to aid Salisbury's ongoing recovery from last year's major incidents.

He added: "The big impact will be on businesses. A good example that we've seen here at Innovate Design is a need for people to download large files very quickly, and it really does mean people will be able to work in Salisbury and do business exactly as if they were present anywhere in the world, at the click of the finger, and that is something that will be absolutely normal in 10, 12 years time, across the whole country, but right now that is unusual, and it will give Salisbury a huge advantage."

Mr Glen said: "Openreach came to me in about September last year, and wanted to see if they could be helpful [in aiding the recovery], and we've had lots of conversations since then.

"They've committed to doing it very quickly, to demonstrate that they can, and I thought it was great advantage for the constituency to have this, and for Salisbury particularly after what happened last year.

"This is a first step in a new chapter of Salisbury's history, and I am very excited about what can come from this announcement.

"It will be a very exciting future for young people in Salisbury."