BT, local councils and the government will spend £14.6m to get an extra 40,000 premises onto superfast fibre broadband around Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull.
The programme will also boost speeds for every address in the region to get at least 2Mbps when it’s completed in Spring 2016.
BT Openreach is already putting FTTC (fibre to the cabinet) broadband in range of 1.7 million West Midlands homes and businesses by the end of Spring 2014.
Read Recombu Digital’s guides to BT Broadband Rollout Updates and Fibre Broadband and BDUK“In its own small way the launch of fibre broadband marks a historical turning point, albeit a technological one, for this region, bringing a host of economic and social benefits,” said Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Next Generation Access.
“The economy of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire has seen considerable change, with the emergence of more knowledge-based businesses and changes to the manufacturing base of the area, which is embracing new technologies and new ways of working.
“These are where future growth will be but only with a world-class communications infrastructure to support them which is where fibre broadband will play a vital role.”
Warwickshire’s average downstream speed is currently around 12Mbps – above average for the UK – but approximately 13 per cent of the population receives less than 2Mbps.
Funding for the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire broadband project breaks down in £5.67m from BT Openreach, plus £4.45m each from the local councils’ CSW Broadband Project and the government’s BDUK budget.
Most of the upgraded areas will get FTTC at around £365 per premises for up-to-76Mbps, but some will get FTTP (fibre to the premises) at up-to-330Mbps.
FTTP on demand will also be available throughout the region for businesses willing to foot the installation charges – expected to average £1,500 depending on distance from the nearest fibre node.
Warwickshire County Council contributed £3m of the local authority funding for the project. Deputy leader, Cllr Alan Cockburn, said: “This is a major landmark in securing the future competitiveness of our area.
“We have been working for a long time to get to this stage and, thanks to the information provided to the team by our local broadband champions and by residents and communities, we have been able to negotiate the best possible deal.”
BT is spending £2.5 billion on its commercial broadband rollout around the UK – that’s about the same as its annual pre-tax profits for 2012-13.
Image: Jim Linwood/Flickr