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North Yorkshire UK Awards GBP70m Superfast Broadband Contract to BT

Tuesday, Jul 17th, 2012 (11:48 am) - Score 2,043

The North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) has announced that its £70m Connecting North Yorkshire (CNY) project, which aims to make superfast broadband ISP services available to “100% of businesses and citizens … by 2017” (90% by 2015), has unsurprisingly been awarded to BT.

The announcement, which was perhaps a foregone conclusion (i.e. Fujitsu withdraws from broadband project in Cumbria and North Yorkshire), means that BT will need to match-fund against a public subsidy of £17,840,000 from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office. A further £8.6 million will also come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). BT has committed £10m to the effort, although it claims to have spent around £23 million to date on “fibre broadband” in the county through its separate private investment (the £2.5bn roll-out).

NYnet, a public sector controlled and private limited venture that was formed by the council in 2007, will also play a significant part thanks to its established fibre optic network. This platform has already helped to link-up a number of rural communities and business parks. NYnet are obliged under State Aid rules to ensure that public funds are only used to deliver faster broadband into areas where the private sector has chosen not to invest.

So far BT has grabbed contracts for Rutland, Lancashire and is the only option left for Wales, Cumbria and the Scottish Highland & Islands where Fujitsu is no longer taking part. The situation could fuel growing concerns over a lack of viable competition in the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework, which has seen Fujitsu fail to pickup any contracts.

BT intends to use a mix of solutions, which will be predominantly based off its 80Mbps capable FTTC and 330Mbps capable FTTP technologies. The operator hopes that some 365,000 premises will have access to its “world class broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps” by the end of 2014. Work on the network “will commence with immediate effect“.

The Government’s Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, said:

Superfast broadband is transforming the way we do business and live our lives. We want to make sure that no community is left behind, which is why Government is investing £17.8 million to help revolutionise the infrastructure in North Yorkshire.

I’m delighted that North Yorkshire has unlocked further funding and is ready to start rolling out fibre broadband. It’s an ambitious project which will bring huge benefits to homes and businesses across the county.”

Bill Murphy, Managing Director of BT’s Next Generation Access, added:

It is fantastic to see North Yorkshire be the first BDUK pilot to cross the finishing line. The race to provide the UK with the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 is still very much on, and we’re looking forward to working with other local authorities and regions to bring the economic benefits of high speed broadband to businesses and communities everywhere.”

As usual the remaining 10% of premises will also see a speed uplift as the project aims to deliver speeds of at least 2Mbps by the end of 2014 to all homes and businesses. BT has also promised to “work with communities in the final 10 per cent to see if fibre can be extended further” through collaborative projects. According to Ofcom, North Yorkshire’s average downstream speed is currently 6.6Mbps, whilst 17% of premises receive less than 2Mbps.

Broadband – Connecting North Yorkshire

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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