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Wiltshire UK Details BT and BDUK Superfast Broadband Extension Plan

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 (8:36 am) - Score 786

It’s been many months since a new state aid supported Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract was signed in Wiltshire (England) to extend the local roll-out of BT’s superfast broadband (24Mbps+) network beyond the current target of 91% by March 2016 and today we’re finally given the details.

Strictly speaking the extended Wiltshire Online project contract was signed in May 2015 (here), but like so many other deals of the time this one also fell into the same information quagmire that so often follows both immediately after and during a General Election campaign.

So far the project has already brought faster broadband services to an additional 62,000 local premises (homes and businesses coverage) and more will be completed in time for the March 2016 finish line. But today we learn that the second contract will add just 5,000 additional premises to the eventual total and that will cost £3.86 million.

The funding split will see £2.46 million coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK programme, £0.5 million from Wiltshire Council and finally BT will contribute £0.9 million to the total. What’s less clear is whether or not this will be enough to push superfast speeds to 95% of the county (this is the Government’s NATIONAL target for 2017/18).

John Thomson, Wiltshire Council’s Member for Broadband, said:

From the very the start of this project our aim was for as many people as possible to benefit from this vital service and I am delighted thousands more homes and businesses will have access. We have invested significant money into the project because we recognise the long-term benefits to Wiltshire and the many opportunities it will create.”

Bill Murphy, BT’s MD of NGA Broadband, said:

Superfast broadband has a huge impact on the way we live. It helps business to move, act and trade quickly and effectively. It enables schoolchildren to access their homework online, helps provide care for our elderly, as well as offering better access to e-commerce, social media and home entertainment. For all of these things, fast broadband is essential.

We’ve already provided more than 62,000 Wiltshire homes and businesses with access to high-speed fibre broadband as a result of our partnership with the county council and we look forward to extending this even further across the county as a result of this announcement.”

The new project means that, once completed and then combined with the private sector’s commercial roll-out, an overall total of 180,000 premises in the county will have finally gained access to order “fibre broadband” connectivity.

Apparently BTOpenreach’s engineers will begin the first planning and surveying work for this new deployment phase during early next year, with the physical installation also expected to begin in 2016 (most likely after the March completion date for BDUK Phase One).

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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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