BT has finally been given the go-ahead to start work on the superfast broadband project in Cumbria thanks to a long-awaited green light from the EU.
Competition regulations and a subsequent investigation by the EU saw delay after delay pile up since the deal with Cumbria’s local authorities and BT was first signed in November 2012. Now, over six months later, work on bringing superfast speeds to 93 per cent of Cumbrian homes and companies can begin.
Read Recombu Digital’s report on BT Broadband Rollout UpdatesCounty Councillor David Southward, Portfolio Holder for Economic Development, told local paper In Cumbria: “We are delighted that this approval has now been formally agreed and the project can move forward at full speed.’’
“We are grateful for the support of the European Commission and BDUK in reaching this stage and will now continue the work with BT to ensure that Cumbria receives the best possible coverage of affordable superfast broadband.”
The project will see residents benefiting from rollout of BT’s FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connections in the majority of places, delivering top speeds of 80Mbps. A handful of lucky homes and businesses able to get faster FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) connections which provide faster 330Mbps lines. The idea is in time, if you can get FTTC, you’ll be able to upgrade to FTTP for a one-off fee with BT’s FTTP On Demand service.
As well as those in built-up areas benefitting from a speed boost, BT plans to connect Cumbria’s rural areas too. At the time of the contract signing, Bill Murphy, managing director for Next Generation Access said: “Cumbria’s scattered population combined with its comparatively large size and challenging geography, means that small business plays a pivotal role in the county’s economy and the rollout of fibre broadband will act as an economic driver for those rural businesses. The statistics show that in Cumbria, something like 7,000 businesses operate from villages, hamlets and isolated properties, which is why BT is committed to helping push fibre to those that are hardest to reach.”
While the majority of locations will benefit from fibre-based broadband of some kind, those in the last 7 per cent of Cumbria, mainly in difficult to reach areas will get a 2Mbps service. This will be provided by either bonded DSL lines or satellite broadband.
The Connecting Cumbria site is due to relaunch at the end of May complete with fresh information – hopefully we’ll hear more about project dates.