BT has been awarded a contract to connect 95 per cent of Northumberland to superfast fibre-based broadband by 2016.
The £18.9 million contract will see BT start work in May this year and be done by January 2016.
Most homes and businesses in Northumberland will get FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) connections, with some benefitting from FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) lines. In most cases, this will see Northumbrians getting speeds of up to 80Mbps (FTTC) and 330Mbps (FTTP).
Some 4 per cent of homes and businesses stand to get speeds of up to 25Mbps via FTTC lines. Because as with ADSL broadband, the actual speed you’ll get from an FTTC connection is dependant on your location, some families and companies with FTTC lines will get slower speeds than others.
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The remaining 5 per cent of the county guaranteed to get speeds of at least 2Mbps.
Kate Roe, Northumberland County Council’s deputy chief executive, said: “This is an important step in the campaign to bring faster broadband speeds to every home, business and school in Northumberland. Working with BT we will be announcing the installation schedule in the coming months and communities across the county can look forward to improved access to online services and better connectivity for businesses from 2014 onwards.”
Interestingly, the iNorthumberland plan that would have seen a number of different companies bidding to connect rural properties has been fully taken on by BT. Northumberland has a great deal of its population in rural areas, those normally deemed ‘hard to reach’ by big companies like BT.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said: “Northumberland is a large rural county with many remote premises. As a result, deploying broadband is a substantial challenge but a vital one which will help local businesses to be competitive and ensure they remain in the county. It can also play an important role in attracting even more firms to the county thereby helping to create jobs for local people.”
To facilitate the rollout of faster fibre broadband speeds to remote parts of the county, BT will be constructing a 660 kilometer-long fibre spine across the county. £2 million of the £18.9 plan comes from the European Regional Development Fund (EDRF) which provides cash specifically for rural projects. Northumberland County Council estimates that 2,600 small and medium-sized rural businesses will benefit from the rollout.
This is the latest regional contract that’s been handed to BT by a local authority. Ever since Fujitsu, the only remaining rival for BDUK bids pulled out of the race, BT has all but been given the remaining contracts.
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