Liverpool City and Merseyside councils have signed a deal with BT that will see 98 per cent of premises benefit from superfast broadband connections.
The Merseyside Connected project will supply 43,000 locations across the area with speeds of at least 25Mbps. The project, costing £15.9 million, will start in Summer 2014 and is expected to be completed by July 2016.
By that time, BT will have connected around 591,000 locations to its superfast broadband network as a result of its own £2.5 billion commercial investment. In total, 634,000 homes and businesses are expected to have access to fibre-based broadband by the end of the project.
Read our guide to BT Broadband Rollout UpdatesMayor of Liverpool and chair of Liverpool City Region Cabinet, Joe Anderson, said: “The internet is a huge part of everyday life and it is vital that we do not get left behind if we are to compete effectively with the rest of the UK.
“This investment in infrastructure will make a big difference to businesses and households across the City Region. I am delighted we have been able to sign this deal with BT which means they can crack on with installing the latest technology.”
Merseyside Connected is jointly funded by Liverpool City, Knowsley, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral councils, BT and two government funds, BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) and ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).
As has been the case with all BDUK projects so far, the majority of premises will be connected to FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband, which provides speeds of up to 80Mbps. The top speed you’ll end up getting largely depends on your distance from the street cabinet.
A selection of areas will benefit from FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) broadband which provides speeds of up to 330Mbps. Selected areas with FTTC broadband will be able to pay to upgrade to FTTP under the FTTP On Demand programme. The replaces the so-called ‘last mile’ by replacing the copper connection with fibre. The service is currently only available to businesses which is perhaps just as well, because the current prices are beyond the means of most UK homes.
As we’ve seen in Cornwall, the installation of fibre broadband in areas where fast, reliable connectivity was scarce, can be transformative.
Bill Murphy, managing director NGA for BT, adds: “Fibre broadband opens up a whole raft of leading-edge software and applications that could benefit business – allowing them to work more efficiently, for people to work when and where they want, to expand their business offering and connect with customers, not just locally but all over the world.”
BT has won all of the BDUK projects so far and is on course to win the few that remain. BDUK aims to connect 95 per cent of the UK to superfast broadband by 2017, with those in the 5 per cent in line to get a basic service delivering at least 2Mbps at all times.