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UPD BT Sign GBP16.9m Superfast Broadband Contract for Leicestershire UK

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013 (7:31 am) - Score 872

The Leicestershire County Council (LCC) in England (midlands) has today signed a new state aid supported £16.9 million deal with BT that should result in 95% of the region being given access to the operators new high-speed “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) internet access network by March 2016 (the last 5% will get at least 2Mbps).

The councils website claims to have identified that 72,500 premises (i.e. around 25% of all homes and businesses in the county) will not receive “improved broadband connectivity” without public investment. It further predicts that the new project could result in wider economic growth totalling £92m over the next 7 years.

It’s understood that the council will contribute £4.1 million towards the scheme and the rest will come from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office (£3.3 million), Europe (£1.23 million) and BT itself is the main contributor at £8.3 million.

Blake Pain, LCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said:

We predict that faster broadband will create a £92 million boost to Leicestershire’s economy over the next seven years, by making firms more competitive and attracting inward investment and jobs.

Rural communities and businesses can play a major role in the county’s future, once they have the high speed connections they need to compete nationally and internationally.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s MD of NGA, said:

This is terrific news for the people of Leicestershire. Fibre broadband will bring the rest of the digital world right to the doorsteps of thousands more homes and businesses across the county.

Faster broadband will help to unlock rural Leicestershire’s economic potential. The Leicestershire economy, especially in rural areas predominantly consists of small and micro businesses. A large number of people are self-employed, work from home and are in the creative, knowledge based sectors which need high speed broadband and will provide the driving force for the county’s digital economy.”

As usual BT will primarily deploy its up to 80Mbps capable FTTC technology and some areas will also benefit from their fastest 330Mbps FTTP solution. BT’s network has already made “fibre broadband” connectivity available to more than 190,000 local premises and should reach 270,000 by spring 2014 (mostly as part of their separate £2.5bn commercial deployment).

We hope to have more details on the projects timeline shortly and hopefully BT will then also tell us how many premises can expect to actually receive “superfast” (25Mbps+) speeds, which is always an important question but not everybody likes to answer it.

UPDATE 9:18am

The end date has been updated from mid to March 2016, as per the official press release, and we also added a comment from BT’s Bill Murphy above. The full funding allocations have also been added.

BTOpenreach now expects to start survey work during this autumn and the first locations to be upgraded will be announced during early 2014. Sadly BT could not tell us what proportion would get “superfast” speeds.

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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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