Sheriff of Nottingham says BDUK cash will be used to improve broadband in rural areas
BT has been awarded yet more government funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, this time from Nottinghamshire County Council, as part of a £20 million project to extend fibre coverage to 52,000 homes and businesses by 2016.
Speeds of up to 80Mbps will be accessible to 95 percent of premises, with 2Mbps available to the remainder of the population, a development which the council says will bring a range of educational and economic benefits to the county.
“By working with BT and other partners including the district and city councils, we will end the digital divide experienced by many of our rural areas especially in Newark and Sherwood, Bassetlaw and Rushcliffe,” said Councillor Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council. “Businesses, schools and families will all benefit from the significant economic, educational and leisure advantages that high speed broadband brings to everyone.”
The council has pledged £2.5 million, with £4.5 million coming from BDUK and a futher £800,000 from Nottinghamshire Borough and District Councils. BT is paying £9.3 million while another £2.7 million has been secured from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to connect 6,000 SMBs in the county.
BT will start planning immediately and the first connections should go live in the Spring of 2014. BT is already commercially deploying fibre in the county, meaning the total number of properties covered by its superfast network should reach 400,000.
“This is exciting news for everyone who lives and works in Nottinghamshire,” said Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access. “Superfast broadband will open the doors to countless business opportunities, boosting the rural economy and supporting thriving local communities.”
So far, BT has won all of the money available under BDUK scheme, after Fujitsu withdrew from the government procurement process. This had led to questions about whether the initiative is providing the taxpayer with value for money, but BT is adamant that its experience and resources make it the ideal candidate to deliver such projects.
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