BT Agrees £28.5m BDUK Cheshire 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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Cheshire, Warrington and Halton to benefit from BDUK cash

Cheshire is the latest county to receive funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative after the Connecting Cheshire partnership agreed a £28.5 million deal with BT.

The project will add around 80,000 premises that wouldn’t be covered by BT’s commercial rollout of the fibre, meaning that a total of 400,000 homes and businesses, or 96 percent of all properties, will be able to access speeds of up to 80Mbps by 2016.

BT will contribute £9 million, Connecting Cheshire £1.85 million, BDUK £4 million and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will stump up £13.6 million. The first communities will be connected during the first wave of the rollout in December.

BDUK Cheshire deal

ChesterThe Connecting Cheshire partnership between Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, Halton Borough Council and Warrington Borough Council says that the deal will transform broadband in Cheshire and narrow the divide between urban and rural areas.

Ofcom estimates that the current average speed in the county is 11Mbps, while 12 percent receive less than 2Mbps. It is claimed that the investment will boost the local economy to the tune of £1.3 billion over the next 15 years, create 11,500 jobs and bring a further £330 million of economic benefits to households.

“The four councils across Cheshire are committed to providing reliable high-speed fibre broadband for both our home and business users,” said Cllr David Brown, Deputy Leader of Cheshire East Council, on behalf of the Connecting Cheshire Partnership. “From children doing homework to caring for our elderly population and from social media, to ecommerce and home entertainment – fast broadband is the critical enabler.

“The social, environmental and economic benefits will be huge, making Cheshire one of the best connected regions in the country.”

Last week, BT secured £9.1 million of BDUK funding for the rollout of fibre in Durham and has won all of the money available under the initiative to date. It is also likely to win all of the remaining money after the only other bidder, Fujitsu, withdrew from the procurement process earlier this year.

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