Cambridgeshire: Broadband deal

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Businesses and communities in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will have some of the best fibre broadband coverage in the country following a deal with BT to provide a county-wide high speed network by the end of 2015.

Cambridgeshire County Council has signed a contract with BT that exceeds its ambitious targets to bring better broadband to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The contract will build on the existing commercial fibre broadband network in the area meaning that many more homes and businesses will be able to get superfast broadband and no community will be left without better broadband access when the roll-out is complete.

The new broadband infrastructure will contribute towards the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme targets so that superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps are available to more than 90 per cent of premises and a minimum of 2Mbps to virtually all premises over the next three years.

Combined with existing commercial broadband provision, completion of the roll-out under the contract will mean that 98 per cent of homes and businesses across the county can expect to have access to fibre-based broadband by the end of 2015.

Without the intervention of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme around a third of premises would not have been able to access faster broadband services. The scale of the county-wide roll-out will mean some areas will be connected sooner than others, but by starting work now everyone will benefit from better broadband by the end of 2015.

BT was chosen by the Council following a competitive selection process. The company will contribute £16 million to the £45 million project with the rest of the investment coming from Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Councillor Nick Clarke, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “This is a super deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which will make us one of the best connected areas in the UK over the next three years. We have made it happen by joining forces with our partners and taking the initiative to bring vital connections that will boost the local economy and ensure that those living in isolated communities are not left out of the digital world.

“Better broadband will allow us to build upon the business and enterprise success of our region, helping to create local jobs and prosperity for the long term. It will help our communities to thrive and make public services more accessible for our residents, particularly elderly and vulnerable people, and more cost-effective for taxpayers.”

Bill Murphy, Managing Director, Next Generation Access, BT, added: “This is a great achievement coming just one year after the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme was formed.

“The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme will open up the county to a wealth of opportunities such as growing business and creating jobs in rural areas, providing health, education and public services in better ways and helping young people and adult learners to develop the skills they need to succeed.”

Work on the project will start immediately with the first locations expected to get fibre later this year. The three-year roll-out will begin with a period of planning and detailed surveying, before Openreach, BT’s local network business, starts work on the ground.