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BT UK Sign GBP18.9 Million Superfast Broadband Deal for Northumberland

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013 (2:43 pm) - Score 623

The Northumberland County Council (NCC) in North East England has today signed a new £18.9 million state aid supported deal with BT that will make superfast broadband (25Mbps+) speeds available to 91% of premises by early 2016 (95% will be covered by the fibre optic based FTTC network but some won’t be “superfast“).

As usual the final 5% of premises, which are not expected to be covered by BT’s new hybrid-fibre network (though BT has pledged to investigate the possibility of doing this in the future), will still see some benefit as the project aims to deliver download speeds of at least 2Mbps to all local homes and businesses (Universal Service Commitment).

In terms of funding, BT will contribute £2.9m towards fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas and NCC will invest £7m, while the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office is putting in a further £7m. The remaining £2m is set to come from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Generally BT’s contribution seems to be quite low in comparison to other projects.

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

This is exciting news for everyone who lives and works in Northumberland. Superfast broadband will open the doors to countless business opportunities in the county, boosting the rural economy and supporting thriving local communities.

Northumberland is a large rural county with many remote premises. As a result, deploying broadband is a substantial challenge but a vital one which will help local businesses to be competitive and ensure they remain in the county. It can also play an important role in attracting even more firms to the county thereby helping to create jobs for local people.”

Kate Roe, NCC’s Deputy CEO, added:

This is an important step in the campaign to bring faster broadband speeds to every home, business and school in Northumberland. Working with BT we will be announcing the installation schedule in the coming months and communities across the county can look forward to improved access to online services and better connectivity for businesses from 2014 onwards.”

The wider iNorthumberland project, in collaboration with BT, now expects to lay around 660km of new fibre optic cable in the county. Later, from May 2013, the delivery of this project will become the responsibility of Arch, NCC’s private sector “arms-length” development company.

However, due to the alleged “scale and complexity of Northumberland’s geography“, the first premises are currently not expected to be connected until January 2014.

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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.
Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. NGA for all says:

    From NCC consultation the area of intervention is c70k premises covered by 80 exchanges, which would suggest about c350 cabinets and the 8-10 handover points, and public subsidy of c£230 per premise passed. The only way you could justify that level is if their no existing duct or they are planning lots of FTTP which is unlikely.

    BT’s ‘up to’ investment of c£40 per premise.

    Enforced transparency on incremental costs where state aid is present is needed to secure value for money.

  2. Somerset says:

    Numbers similar to Devon & Somerset.

    1. NGA for all says:

      I did not see H/O and Cabinet estimates for Devon & Sommerset. Have you got them? Was BT investment as low as £40 per premise past?

      In a PCP serving 200 homes with a large public subsidy of £230 per home passed, would you not be better going direct to FTTP and forcing the issue with the community. Once that public subsidy goes above the NI rate of £70 per home past for FTTC, surely it would be better to remove the PSTN costs wherever possible.

      The scale of the subsidy will surely BT position poorly when reviewing GEA wholesale pricing. The temptation for the regulator will be to instigate another race to the bottom rather than encouraging more infrastructure investment in urban areas.

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