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BT to Secure Contract for the UK Borders Broadband Project

Thursday, November 29th, 2012 (1:11 pm) - Score 498
bt fttc fttp fibre optic broadband cabinet uk

The Borders Broadband project, a partnership between Herefordshire and Gloucestershire County Councils that aims to boost the coverage of superfast broadband (25Mbps+) services in related area(s) to reach 90% of local people, has effectively handed the contract to BT by granting the operator “preferred bidder” status.

The official press release doesn’t contain any detail, although it’s already known that the project will focus most of its efforts upon large parts of south Herefordshire and the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire. Regular readers will recall that this was one of the first Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pilots to be announced in October 2010, although it didn’t officially go out to tender until June 2011.

The two councils are said to have made a significant capital investment, matched by £18.17m from central government. BT will also need to match the current level of public funding.

Cllr John Jarvis, Leader of Herefordshire Council, said:

In partnership with Gloucestershire County Council we are pleased to be able to announce our preferred bidder for the contract to build a broadband network for the future across Herefordshire and Gloucestershire is BT.

The new network will transform the lives of thousands of people and businesses in rural areas by being able to do more online. This partnership is part of a longer journey for everyone to have access to fast broadband to reflect the future requirements for digital services.”

As usual nobody will be surprised to find BT being chosen as the preferred bidder, especially with Fujitsu UK having effectively given up on the process (there are no other options within the current framework). A 10-day standstill period will now begin until the contract is officially handed to BT and we don’t expect anything to change that outcome. The roll-out of the new network is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Meanwhile a similar £15m project to improve broadband for 180,000 homes in Derbyshire looks set not to finalise its contract award until July 2013. It was put on “hold” following the recent EU funding approval woes, which until recently had stalled roughly half of BDUK’s schemes for approximately 6-7 months over competition concerns.

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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.
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