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Northumberland UK Signs BT Fibre Broadband Extension Contract

Friday, June 5th, 2015 (11:46 am) - Score 1,017
openreach engineers pulling fibre optic cable duct

The Northumberland County Council and BT have today signed a second contract worth £4.1m to improve local “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) coverage by putting the service within reach of an additional 3,000 homes and businesses by 2017, which will complement the original £18.9m contract.

At present the related iNorthumberland project is already working to ensure that BTOpenreach’s “fibre broadband” services reach 95% of local premises by early 2016 (note: only 91% will get “superfast” speeds of 24Mbps+), which requires 660km of new fibre optic cable to be installed.

The Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme was originally allocated an additional £650,000 to help the new phase 2 Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract, although interestingly this has been boosted to £2m. On top of that the local authorities are usually required to match-fund with the BDUK investment, but so far the final allocations, including any contributions from BT, have not yet been confirmed.

Otherwise several new locations will benefit from the new deal, including Matfen, Hebron, Longhirst, Scremerston, Doddington, Newtown and Tosson.

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

This second phase will help us to reach some of the even more remote and rural parts of the county. We are committed to making fibre broadband as widely available as possible. The issue of broadband access touches all aspects of rural life.

Lack of quality broadband affects the ability and agility of rural economies to grow and be resilient and the services and quality of life in rural areas. This is particularly relevant to Northumberland with a population of around 312,000 and no single community larger than 35,000 residents.”

The second phase of the iNorthumberland programme is expected to begin in January 2016 and by the end of their roll-out plans for the two phases more than 149,000 premises within the programme area will have access to the faster broadband service. Take-up in related areas currently standards at 16.1% (March 2015).

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Mark Jackson
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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