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BT Confirms 97 Percent of Lancashire UK to Get its Superfast Broadband

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 (1:02 pm) - Score 1,103
lancashire uk map

BT and the Lancashire County Council (LCC) have announced that 97% of homes and businesses in the UK county will be able to receive the telecom operators superfast broadband (FTTC , FTTP) ISP services by the end of 2014 (subject to the timing of State Aid approval) after both parties agreed the new £62.5 million project.

The move, which follows only days after the rival B4RN (Broadband 4 Rural North) project began work to connect thousands of rural homes in north Lancashire UK via their ambitious 1Gbps (Gigabits per second) capable fibre optic (FTTH) network (here), is the latest in a long string of wins for BT. The operator also looks set to gain key Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) contracts for the Highlands and Islands (Scotland), Wales and Rutland (England).

As a result BT claims that the people of Lancashire will “be the first to benefit” from the UK governments public funding, which has so far set aside almost £1bn (£530m core funding + £150m Urban Broadband Fund and possibly £300m from the BBC after 2015) to help boost broadband ISP connectivity across the United Kingdom (excludes EU funding, mobile infrastructure subsidies and existing private investment).

Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director of NGA, said:

It’s great to see Lancashire be first out of the BDUK starting blocks in this regional race for speed. We’re looking forward to working with other local authorities and devolved governments to bring the economic benefits of high speed broadband to businesses and communities across the UK.”

Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council, said:

Today our ambition to provide Lancashire’s citizens and business with a world-class broadband service turns into a reality. It is important that as many areas as possible benefit, and that is why we have ensured that even the more remote areas of the county see a significant improvement in their speeds.”

Edwin Booth, Chairman of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said:

This is incredibly important for the success of the Lancashire economy. The project will transform the broadband landscape across the county and ensure that local businesses can become global businesses. It will ensure that firms remain here and it will also attract a more diverse range of high growth, high value companies to the county.”

Furthermore BT, which expects to contribute £30 million of its own money to the project (plus £10.8m from BDUK, £16.5m from the EU and £5.2m from local councils), claims that the new development will also boost the local economy by up to £100m (ERDF estimate) and create around 2,500 jobs (plus protecting another 1,200 “over the next few years“).

The UK government currently aims for 90% of “people in each local authority area” to be within reach of a superfast broadband (24Mbps+) ISP service by 2015, while the last 10% can expect a minimum speed of at least 2Mbps. Today’s news suggests that “virtually zero” premises in Lancashire will be left with sub-2Mbps speeds after BT’s upgrade (Ofcom suggests that 15% of local homes and businesses currently get less than 2Mbps).

LCC has also created a £500k Community Fund to help reach the most remote homes and an initial pilot is already set to take place on the east side of Lancaster. But critics will no doubt be concerned at how BT appears to be winning all the contracts for public funding. Some recent reports have indicated that BT and Fujitsu (Virgin Media) could now be the only two operators left in BDUK’s national framework, although the latter has yet to win any public funding.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
Leave a Comment
10 Responses
  1. Avatar me

    i want dates for each exchange though, my exchange has no date on bt’s website.

  2. Avatar Phil

    I want Shropshire Council to get 100% FTTC, come on Shropshire, act now, stop being a tight git!

    • Avatar Martin Pitt - Aquiss

      We have engaged painfully with Shropshire Council on so many levels over the past 18 months. Whilst the MP in the south of the county is very switched on, sadly, once it gets to Shire Hall we have a different story. Don’t be expecting FTTC at 100% anytime soon, certainly not in the rural corners of this county.

      The good news is Shropshire did get an early application in for BDUK funding.

  3. Avatar New_Londoner

    Good to see these tenders starting to be awarded after what feels like a very long delay. Should start to reassure people in the “final third” that many will get connected now.

  4. Avatar Rob Turner

    Looks like we in Norfolk wont be too far behind now, will be interesting to see who gets the contract here, whoever it is I just hope as much of the county as possible get the full FTTC OR FTTH and are not left with the minimum 2mb which is way too low in my opinion.

  5. Avatar Telecom Engineer

    The county gets £10+ for each £1 spent, certainly seem to have got this right – great news for tax payers and internet users alike. But how will this impact B4RN? Has their footprint been added into the 97% or are we going to see a duplication on networks?

  6. BDUK Funding, State Aid, Large Percentages, Political Promises mean very little to Towns such as Tavistock (Devon). There are too many have it all duplicated superfast fibre roll-out areas in the UK.

  7. Just to confirm that BT is yet to be awarded the Welsh Government contract to deliver ‘Next Generation Broadband in Wales’ (4th April 2012)

  8. No but being the only major bidder left would certainly put them in with a pretty big chance 🙂

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