Milton Keynes And Bedfordshire Agree £12m BT BDUK Deal

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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BT wins yet more BDUK cash in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire

Homes and businesses in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire are set to receive a broadband boost after three councils agreed a £12 million Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) deal to extend fibre coverage in the region to areas not covered by commercial rollouts.

Milton Keynes Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council have chosen BT to bring fibre to 91 percent, or 33,000, of homes and businesses by Spring 2016. Of these, 32,000 will have access to speeds of 24Mbps and the aim is to ensure the vast majority have at least 2Mbps.

This will be an improvement on the Ofcom-estimated current average download speeds of 10.8Mbps in Milton Keynes, 14.1Mbps in Bedford and 13.7Mbps in Bedfordshire, and local leaders hope it will improve the local economy.

BDUK Milton Keynes

Bedford Town Bridge“Today’s contract signing is another vital step towards achieving our ambitious goal for local broadband coverage,” Councillor David Hopkins, Milton Keynes Council Cabinet Member responsible for economic development, said on behalf of the local authorities’ Joint Board. “Good broadband helps economic growth, and businesses and residents have told us that building a better and faster broadband service should be a priority. By signing this new contract, we’re well on the way to making superfast broadband a reality for many more people across the area’s towns and villages.”

BT will contribute £6.2 million to the project, Milton Keynes Council £2.4 million, Central Bedfordshire Council £1.2 million and Bedford Borough Council £0.44 million. The remaining £2 million will come from BDUK.

BT was chosen following a “selective and thorough”  process, but its election was unsurprising given it is the only participant in the government’s procurement programme after its only rival Fujitsu withdrew earlier this year.

The company has won all of the government funding available from the BDUK initiative and is in pole position to scoop up the remaining contracts. The government said the latest deal will help it achieve its revised broadband goals.

“This project is fantastic news for the thousands of homes and businesses across Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Central Bedfordshire, and will be instrumental in driving growth, boosting the local economy, and achieving the Government’s objective of reaching 95 percent of UK premises by 2017,” said Communications Minister Ed Vaizey.

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