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Northumberland UK Win GBP2.74m from EU for Better Business Broadband

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 (8:33 am) - Score 449

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) appears to have awarded a grant worth £2.74 million to help over 2,600 small and medium sized businesses in Northumberland (North East England) gain access to superfast and ultrafast broadband ISP connectivity via a “range of incentives“.

The new funding, which will be matched by the county council (approximate total of £5m), forms part of the iNorthumberland Digital Economy Programme and will also be used to create an “interactive digital portal for businesses to learn and share good practice“.

The money will also compliment the council’s existing £28m project with BT, which aims to help ensure that 90% of “all target premises” gain access to a superfast broadband service of at least 25Mbps by 2015, then 95% by 2018 and finally 100% by 2020.

Baroness Hanham CBE, Communities Minister, said (Bdaily):

It is essential all businesses can develop and be part of the digital economy allowing them to reap the associated rewards and their growth potential, so I am delighted the European Regional Development Fund is helping businesses in Northumberland.

This project will provide the correct infrastructure where it is most needed and ensure businesses receive the necessary support to maximise the benefits, cultivating innovation to strengthen businesses and contribute to the growth of the local and national economy.”

It’s expected that almost 300 new jobs will be created with the new investment and business broadband uptake should rise from 79.8% to 95% by 2015, although the funding will only be used to improve “last mile connectivity” (i.e. between the local PoP/Street Cabinet and business).

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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.
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9 Responses
  1. Chris Conder says:

    With that sort of funding they could build a real fibre network. I hope that is what they are planning. Not just one that comes through phone lines.

    1. DTMark says:

      Just a guess – most of it will go to pay BT for “fibre on demand”.

      Getting fibre round the country this way is going to be unbelievably expensive.

    2. TheFacts says:

      With what coverage? Assuming these businesses are spread over a wide area.

    3. FibreFred says:

      So without knowing the area/setup/premises/distances etc etc you can just say instantly that the funds would cover FTTP for all?

      Simply amazing, I would give up farming now, you have a great future in network planning 🙂

    4. DTMark says:

      I didn’t say that the budget would run to FTTP for all.

      But, given that everyone will need to go to FTTP eventually (and, some right now, to get broadband services where the location simply doesn’t fit with the topography of the old phone network), at BT’s announced prices for fibre installation, it would be cheaper to simply build a brand new national network.

      Whather that’s because BT’s network isn’t suitable as a starting point (e.g. lots of blocked ducts, so huge installation costs to adapt a phone network into a broadband one in bespoke fashion on a case by case basis with no economy of scale) hence the high costs, or whether that’s BT profiting from their to-be-entrenched monopoly position by charging ludicrous sums as they see fit in the absence of competition, to shove some cables through the ducting is up to the reader.

    5. TheFacts says:

      @DTMark – please supply some more explanation about this ‘new national network’ and costings.

    6. FibreFred says:

      I was replying to Chris 🙂

    7. FibreFred says:

      I know you love your “old telephone network” jibes but, what adapting is to be done? In terms of access from A (the exchange) to B (the premise) its just ducts and poles, putting in fibre between the two has nothing to do with the old telephone network you refer to.

      I also do not believe for an instant that it would be cheaper to build new ducting across the country, I doubt any government would either, not that the government has any interest in broadband of course.

  2. Jon Roberts says:

    with 300 jobs being created, that will not leave much change out of the 5 million,

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