Around 18.000 premises are set to benefit from BDUK cash
Berkshire is the latest English county to allocate its government funding under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative after it agreed an £8.06 million deal with BT to extend fibre coverage to around 91 percent of premises by 2015.
The commercial deployment of fibre in Berkshire has already reached 87 percent and Superfast Berkshire, composed of six unitary councils and the local enterprise partnership, claims the BDUK deal will make fibre available to another 18,000 homes and business.
Like most counties who have allocated their BDUK cash, the aim is to ensure that everyone in Berkshire has speeds of at least 2Mbps through the use of both fibre and alternative technologies such as satellite.
Under the terms of the agreement, Berkshire’s local authorities will provide £2.03 million, a figure that is matched by BDUK, and BT will supply £4 million. All parties will also work to secure additional funding to extend fibre coverage even further.
Local councillors say the extended rollout of fibre in the county will bring a number of economic and social benefits as a number of areas are currently suffering from slow speeds that hamper business expansion and social cohesion.
“For many people living and working in rural areas, this is an important day,” says Councillor David Burbage. “It gives them confidence that more 21st century technology is within reach and that they will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of faster access to the internet – benefits that some other people have had for some time.”
BT has so far won all of the government funding available from BDUK and is the only participant in the procurement programme after its only rival Fujitsu withdrew earlier this year, leading to concerns from the National Audit Office about whether the scheme is providing value for money.
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