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Newcastle Extend Coverage of BT Superfast Broadband via £3.8m BDUK Deal

Friday, Aug 30th, 2013 (10:06 am) - Score 1,073

The Newcastle City Council (NCC) has today signed a new £3.8 million state aid supported deal with BT that will extend the coverage of the UK telecom giants “high-speed fibre broadband” network to 97% of local homes and businesses in Newcastle-upon-Tyne by the end of Summer 2015.

The Go Digital programme will be funded by £1.89 million from BT, £970,000 from Newcastle City Council and the final batch of £970,000 will come out of the central Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) budget.

It’s claimed that BT and Newcastle City Council are also “exploring options” for improving connectivity to the final 3% of premises, although the project aims to provide premises with a minimum speed of 2Mbps and it ultimately intends to “increase the spread of fibre even further than specified in today’s announcement“.

Nick Forbes, Leader of NCC, said:

Given that the internet is integral to how we live our lives now, from shopping online to playing games to watching films, ensuring all homes have fibre broadband access will put Newcastle at the forefront of ensuring that residents are fully connected.

In addition, high speed reliable broadband access is an essential modern day business tool, and we are determined that we will have the best connectivity of any European city to make Newcastle a natural home for businesses to grow in the future.”

Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, said:

Newcastle upon Tyne is witnessing a broadband revolution that will see thousands of homes and businesses across the region gain access to superfast broadband speeds in 2015. 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 local economy.”

It’s interesting to note that Newcastle upon Tyne is a fairly urban metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear. It’s also one where superfast broadband has already been made available to over 70% of the local population.

Some people might rightly question why the city council are being granted public funding to help improve connectivity in an urban area where the commercial case for private investment should be easier to make. In fairness it does also include large swathes of semi-urban/rural parts and this is likely to be where the investment is focused (we hope).

Sadly BT were unable to give us a total percentage for how many people would ultimately get superfast speeds (24Mbps+) across the city, although they did advise that 75% of premises should get access to superfast connectivity and above “in the intervention area“. It’s also understood that there will be a 91% FTTC (up to 80Mbps) and 9% FTTP (330Mbps) split in this one.

Details of the first rollout locations and connections aren’t likely to be known until around spring 2014.

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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