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BT superfast fibre broadband deal for Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire signed

BT has revealed details of a superfast fibre broadband deal signed with Milton Keynes, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough councils.  

The deal will see 91 per cent of locations across the combined area getting connected to a fibre-based broadband product by Spring 2016. 

Under the project 33,000 premises will be connected to faster speeds, with 32,000 of these getting speeds of at least 24Mbps.  

Councillor David Hopkins, Milton Keynes Council cabinet member for economic development, said on behalf of all the local authorities: “Good broadband helps economic growth, and businesses and residents have told us that building a better and faster broadband service should be a priority.”

BT superfast fibre broadband deal for Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire signed
A series of tubes: Upgrading BT’s old copper-based network one exchange at a time

Read our guide to BT Broadband Rollout Updates“By signing this new contract, we’re well on the way to making superfast broadband a reality for many more people across the area’s towns and villages.”

Bill Murphy, managing director NGA for BT, added: “This is great news for the people living in these areas. It is important to support local economies, as well as helping new development and infrastructure in these communities. This is where fibre broadband can play an essential role by revitalising towns, villages and hamlets, helping businesses to be connected in these locations.”

The primary technology used will be FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) which on the Openreach network currently provides top download speeds of 80Mbps. Because the last mile of an FTTC connection uses copper, the same as ADSL, speeds decrease the further away you’re location from an exchange. For this reason, some of the locations connected stand to get speeds beneath 24Mbps. 

Some areas will benefit from FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) which is a pure fibre connection. As there’s no copper in the last mile distance degradation is not a factor. FTTP provides and top download speeds of 330Mbps and tests have shown that BT can provide speeds of up to 10Gbps over these lines. 

Businesses connected to FTTC will be able to pay to upgrade the copper last mile under the FTTP On Demand plan. This a premium service and as such it isn’t cheap. It’s also not available to residential customers for the time being, so if you want FTTP for your home, don’t start thinking about putting your money down yet.

Those in the remaining 9 per cent will get a service delivering at least 2Mbps by 2015. 

Before then it’s hoped that the councils will release information about where the 9 per cent are living, so that local ISPs and alternative providers specialising in rural broadband can connect them to faster speeds if there’s sufficient local demand. 

The BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) fund has been set up by the government to catalyse superfast broadband rollout in areas across the UK. It’s mainly rural and hard to reach areas that will benefit from BDUK funds, although suburban and built-up areas will benefit too. 

So far, every BDUK contract has gone to BT on account of all other companies pulling out of the bidding process. In addition to winning every BDUK contract, BT has spent £2.5 billion of its own money on connecting two thirds of the UK to its new fibre-based broadband network. 

BT aims to have its own commercial upgrade project finished by Spring 2014. All BDUK projects are currently due to be completed by 2017.

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