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UPD Northamptonshire and BT Sign GBP16.26m Superfast Broadband Contract

Monday, March 18th, 2013 (12:57 pm) - Score 522

The Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) has today signed a new £16.26 million contract with BT that will provide “world class fibre broadband speeds” to 53,000 local homes and businesses. Sadly the final time-scales, speeds and targets seem to be unclear.

The Superfast Northamptonshire project will be funded by £4.08m from the each of the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office and the local council itself. On top of that BT will contribute a further £8.1m.

Under the original plan the project was intended to help every home and business in the county gain access to a superfast broadband (30Mbps+) ISP connection by March 2017 (note: 90% coverage for speeds of 25Mbps+ was set for March 2015), while the rest would get speeds of at least 2Mbps. On top of that some 2,000 businesses in the intervention area were expected to gain access to NGA infrastructure by March 2014.

Sadly today’s announcement is a little vague on the final details and merely promises to “provide world class fibre broadband speeds to 53,000 Northamptonshire homes and businesses” (the original scheme intended to help around 81,099 premises in more rural parts of the county).

The project also claims to ensure that “almost 3,000 Northamptonshire business premises” will have access to “fibre infrastructure” by September 2015. We’ve request further and hopefully clearer details about the final targets /dates and are awaiting a response.

Bill Murphy, BT’s MD of Next Generation Access, said:

Access to high speed broadband is becoming increasingly important for economic growth. The first question people considering moving house often ask is about broadband speeds and increasingly many jobs are only advertised on-line. Access to broadband is also a major determining factor in where businesses decide to locate.

It will reduce costs for consumers and providers and enhance the capability of businesses to communicate and exchange information with their customers and suppliers. This is fundamental to the future prosperity of and local quality of life.”

Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, added:

This is fantastic news for Northamptonshire, as well as the obvious benefits the superfast broadband will bring, it’s estimated that the project will create around 1,700 new jobs.

The UK already does more business online than any other European country, and widespread access to superfast broadband will provide a tremendous boost to the Northamptonshire local economy.”

As usual BT is expected to deploy its up to 80Mbps capable FTTC and 330Mbps FTTP fibre broadband services.

UPDATE 14:56pm

A spokesperson for NCC has told us that their target “hasn’t changed” and they’re still aiming for “full countywide coverage by 2017 at next generation access speeds (30 mbps and above)“.

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