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UPD2 Surrey Council UK Hands GBP33m Superfast Broadband Contract to BT

Wednesday, Sep 12th, 2012 (12:47 pm) - Score 2,253

The Surrey County Council (SCC) today announced that BT has somewhat unsurprisingly won the £33 million contract for making superfast broadband (25Mbps+) ISP services available to “nearly” 100% of local businesses and homes by the end of 2014.

Part of the funding will come from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office, which last year allocated £1,310,000 to help deploy the new service, with the rest coming from BT (£11.8m) and the local authority (£20m). Today’s announcement suggests that the new development could “boost the county’s economy by around £28m annually“.

The deal itself, which will see BT rolling out a mix of its usual up to 80Mbps capable FTTC and up to 330Mbps FTTP technologies, aims to help the roughly 20% of local businesses and homes (more than 90,000 premises) that cannot currently receive a superfast connection via private investment alone.

Peter Martin, SCC Deputy Leader, said:

The county council has done a deal that will make Surrey the best connected county in the country and could boost our economy by around £28m a year.

This will be a great boost for business, from start-ups in small offices through to multi-nationals. It can be crucial to the continued success of Surrey businesses and a huge attraction to those looking to move in.

Fast and reliable web access is essential to our daily lives and by stepping in we’re also making sure no Surrey communities are disadvantaged.”

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

We are delighted to have been chosen as a partner in this project by Surrey County Council. This project puts Surrey well ahead of the game. It goes further than the Government’s national aim for fibre broadband by 2015 and brings the county within a whisker of 100% fibre broadband availability. No other county has announced a scheme matching Surrey’s high-speed broadband coverage.”

A survey conducted by the council last year (3,000 businesses and residents polled) revealed that nearly 87% of locals experienced speeds slower than the national average (at the time of this survey Ofcom was reporting the national average to be 7.6Mbps, which has since risen to 9.1Mbps). According to BT the average downstream speed in Surrey today is 7.4Mbps (Megabits per second).

The UK government nationally aims for 90% of “people in each local authority area” to be within reach of a superfast broadband service by March 2015, while the last 10% can expect a minimum speed of at least 2Mbps. But many of these Local Broadband Plan’s (LBP) are currently being held up by EU competition concerns (here), which may or may not be resolved this month (here).

As part of the project, SCC and BT have also agreed to “work closely on next generation broadband solutions for the few remaining premises that are harder to reach with a fixed fibre line“. Interestingly BT was apparently one of “three firms shortlisted for the contract“, which is despite the fact that the BDUK framework only covers BT and Fujitsu (we’re trying to find out whom the third bidder was and whether or not they exited a long time ago).

UPDATE 2:13pm

BT let us know that the Surrey procurement was underway some time before the BDUK framework was put in place and will thus use an “umbrella scheme” for state aid approval. We also understand that the other two short listed companies were Briskona Ltd and ETDE Ltd. No mention of Fujitsu.

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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