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Merseyside UK Closes in on 98% Fibre Broadband Coverage Goal

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016 (1:43 am) - Score 284
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The Merseyside Connected project, which since 2013 has been working with Openreach (BT) to expand “fibre broadband” (FTTC/P) to 98% of local homes and businesses in Merseyside by the end of July 2016 (note: 90% covered by 24Mbps+ speeds), now looks set to complete its contract in September 2016.

The current scheme, which is funded by £5.46m from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, £6m from BT and £4.4 million from Europe (ERDF), originally talked about deploying its service to an additional 43,000 premises in the metropolitan county of North West England (here).

However the most recent update says that nearly 60,000 premises have already benefited, with take-up of related services in the BDUK intervention area reaching 21% (up from just 6% a year ago). Some of the latest areas to benefit from the roll-out have included parts of St Helens, Birkdale, Prescot and Allerton.

Mike Blackburn, BT’s Regional Director for the North West, said:

“We are delighted the rollout in Merseyside is proving to be so popular. It’s great to see the benefits of all the hard work of the programme coming to life through the number of people who are now taking advantage of the high speeds. The technology really does have the ability to transform the way people and businesses use the internet.

When combined with the commercial rollout, 98 per cent of Merseyside homes and businesses should be able to access fibre broadband by September 2016.”

The high level of take-up also appears to have triggered the early clawback clause in BT’s contract, which means that an initial public investment of £1.8m is being returned and this can then be reinvested to further improve local broadband connectivity. In fact the local authority has already run a related State Aid public consultation on the matter and they’re now planning out the next steps.

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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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2 Responses
  1. Avatar Sledgehammer

    IF (note: 90% covered by 24Mbps+ speeds) how the heck can 98% be covered by FTTC ?

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