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By: MarkJ - 31 January, 2011 (11:54 AM)
lancashire uk maplancashire county council ukThe Lancashire County Council (LCC) has announced fresh plans to build a new superfast broadband ISP network in the region, which would be completed by 2014 (taking two and a half years to build) and thus be one year ahead of the UK governments national 2015 target.

Little is known about the plan itself, except that a range of technology solutions will be considered. Funding is expected to come from the council, with money also being sought from Europe and private sector partnerships. A competitive process is being setup to select the best partners for LCC's project.

Leader of the LCC, Geoff Driver, said:

"Lancashire County Council is aiming to lead the county into a bright new future. We want to open up opportunities for businesses in Lancashire, by establishing a super-fast broadband network.

It is important for the county council to encourage business, create jobs and develop a sustainable and growing economy. This will help people, especially in rural or deprived areas, to connect in new ways with the rest of Lancashire and the wider world."

Lancashire currently has a population of 1.16m people (468,868 Homes), although a number of its local telephone exchanges are already due to be upgraded to support BT's new up to 40Mbps FTTC technology (ORMSKIRK, LONGTON, FULWOOD, BROUGHTON, BAMBER BRIDGE, ROSSENDALE, LANCASTER and ACCRINGTON).

We note that most of those upgrades were initially due to take place before the end of 2011, although five of them have since slipped back in BT's timetable to March 2012. In addition the BROUGHTON and LONGTON exchanges, neither of which have been delayed, will also support BT's true 110Mbps capable FTTP fibre optic broadband service.

The overall aim of the new project is to create a countywide network and, in doing so, will address those areas of the county who have poor broadband. It's understood that Geoff Driver has already approved the plans, which will be confirmed in a report to Cabinet on Thursday this week.

In related news three community broadband networks in Lancashire (covering Barley, Great Asby and Wennington) have, according to Computer Weekly, been threatened with termination following a take-over of their supplier by a BT and local council Joint Venture. Negotiations between the new owners and client networks are still on-going, though no deal has been reached.
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