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By: MarkJ - 3 March, 2011 (12:32 PM)
durham uk country councilDurham County Council (DCC) in the North East of England (UK) has set aside £2 Million to help bring superfast broadband ISP services to the county. However the cash is not expected to be enough to cover all of the county's areas.

Instead the council hopes to bid for extra funding through the central governments Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office when they meet next Wednesday (9th March 2011). BDUK currently has a budget of £530m until 2015 and has invited bids from all around the country.

Cllr Neil Foster said:

"Broadband has become an essential requirement for modern living and is key to enabling a modern economy. In County Durham, we have a disproportionately high number of areas where high-speed internet connection isn’t available, with 60 per cent of homes currently not covered.

BDUK funding would enable us to provide coverage in those areas that are currently under-served and are not likely to benefit from services provided by other suppliers."

The county is currently home to 493,500 people, some 38,000 of which live in the main city. BT notes that several Durham telephone exchanges are already on its 40Mbps FTTC rollout list (HETTON-LE-HOLE, AYCLIFFE , BISHOP AUCKLAND, CHESTER-LE-STREET and DURHAM), although these only cover some of the main population areas.

The council expects that any bid, which is currently pending final approval by the local authority, would still be subject to scrutiny by BDUK. However, assuming everything goes according to plan, DCC could learn whether or not its bid has been successful in June 2011.

The first areas to benefit would most likely to be Seaham, Easington and Peterlee, which would receive an improved broadband service from the beginning of 2012. Meanwhile Thornley, Coxhoe, Trimdon, Crook, Frosterley, Consett and Stanley would follow almost immediately after.
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