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Delayed GBP20m Hampshire UK Superfast Broadband Project Put to Tender

Thursday, Nov 22nd, 2012 (7:59 am) - Score 693

The Hampshire County Council (HCC) has officially started the formal tender process to appoint a commercial ISP partner for its Hampshire Broadband Programme, which is estimated to be worth close to £20m and will aim to make superfast broadband (25Mbps+) speeds available to almost everybody by around the middle of 2016.

Readers might recall that Hampshire was originally part of a joint project with the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton but this appeared to flop after the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office announced in May 2012 that the project had “withdrawn” from BDUK’s scheme (here).

Instead Hampshire re-developed its own plan, which is to be funded by £5m from HCC and another £5m from the BDUK office. The total figure of £10m is then expected to be matched by a private sector partner, which already looks almost certain to be BT.

At present some 80% of local homes and businesses are already expected to receive superfast broadband services through private sector investment. The public money will instead be used to help the last 20% of premises (115,000) where private investment is not expected to reach.

Councillor Ken Thornber, Leader of HCC, said:

This is a nationally co-ordinated programme and Hampshire is keen to get started. Hampshire has been given the Government go ahead to move to this next step and secure a commercial partner. Investment in faster broadband speeds is absolutely vital for our local communities and businesses to thrive and grow.

People desperately want access to this technology that will allow them to transform the way they do business and communicate. It is a major boost for homeworkers and will benefit families who use the internet for so many different things.”

Subject to the usual State aid approval (the EC has effectively already given the green light), it is expected that the contract will be awarded by the end of March 2013 (Q1) with work then expected to start on the first phase of a three year roll out programme in the Summer of 2013.

In other words the work might not complete until 2016, although this doesn’t mean they’ll miss the government’s 90% target by spring 2015 (i.e. the total roll-out could reach 100% in 2016).

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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