More than 95 per cent of Derbyshire homes and businesses will get a fibre broadband connection by 2016 in the latest BDUK deal for BT and a local council.
The £27.67 million Digital Derbyshire project will extend BT’s commercial fibre rollout to another 88,000 premises across the county.
The remaining five per cent of Derbyshire will see broadband speeds improved to a minimum of 2Mbps through exchange upgrades and access to alternative broadband technologies.
Read Recombu Digital’s report on Fibre Broadband and BDUKThe first areas are expected to be upgraded in 2014, with BT Openreach engineers poised to begin survey work on the best way to roll out the network.
Derbyshire County Council leader, Councillor Anne Western said: “Residents and businesses have told us in their thousands that they want a better broadband service in Derbyshire – we’ve listened and are making it happen.”
“A fast and reliable broadband service is as important as good road and rail links for businesses in the modern day and that’s why we’ve made it one of our priorities.
“It’s vital that our businesses – including those in rural locations – are at least on a level playing field with other areas of the UK and further afield to be able to maintain and create jobs in a thriving Derbyshire economy.”
BT will contribute £12.87m to Digital Derbyshire, alongside £7.4m from the government’s BDUK fund, £4.9m from Derbyshire County Council, and £2.5m from the European Regional Development Fund.
Most of the superfast connections will be via FTTC (fibre to the cabinet), offering up-to-76Mbps downstream and up-to-20Mbps up, from around 80 ISPs.
Businesses (and very wealthy consumers) in some areas will also be able to order FTTP (fibre to the premises) at up-to-330Mbps downstream, with connection fees of around £1,000, although ISPs may choose not to pass on this cost.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said: “Increasingly broadband is at the heart of everything we do – both for work and pleasure and this project will mean a huge step forward for the county as a whole.
“Small companies dominate the county’s economy, with more than 80 per cent employing less than 10 people.
“In today’s economy a fast and reliable broadband service is vital for their success, and for attracting new inward investment to Derbyshire, which in turn will help to stimulate jobs and growth throughout the county.”
Derbyshire County Council surveyed more than 6,500 residents and businesses on their broadband needs, and found the major driver of faster broadband was uploading and downloading large documents, as well as working from home.
More than 80 per cent of businesses said superfast broadband availability would affect their decisions when relocating, and half were concerned about future broadband provision.