BT Agrees £36.5m BDUK Deal For Wiltshire And South Gloucestershire

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 will receive £4.6m in BDUK funding for new rural broadband deal

BT has won yet more Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funding from the government after agreeing a £35.6 million deal with Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire Councils.

The project will see 91 percent of premises in Wiltshire and 94 percent in South Gloucestershire gain access to fibre, benefiting 140 homes and businesses.

Work is expected to start this autumn with the first exchanges going live with fibre in Spring 2014. The partnership aims to deliver minimum speeds of 2Mbps by March 2016, although it is hoped that many will be able to enjoy speeds of between 24Mbps and 80Mbps.

BDUK funding awarded

BT broadband“It’s great to see Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire working in partnership to bring the best possible broadband to their rural communities,” said Bill Murphy, , Managing Director, Next Generation Broadband from BT Group. “High speed broadband is critical to attracting new businesses to the area and providing individuals with access to the myriad of new applications and services that are becoming available.”

The government will supply £4.6 million, BT £12.8 million, Wiltshire Council £15.5 million and South Gloucestershire £2.2 million. The project will also receive £0.74 million from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“Today’s announcement will see Wiltshire becoming one of the most fibre-enabled counties in the country, after struggling with slower broadband speeds in the past,” said John Thomson, Wiltshire Councils Cabinet Member for communities. “This project will really put the county on the map, attracting more businesses, helping existing ones grow and enabling rural properties become less isolated.”

Rural broadband

suffolk rural country sheep farm © dibrova Shutterstock“The deal will see improved coverage in South Gloucestershire, with 94 per cent of homes and businesses being able to access superfast fibre broadband once roll-out is complete,” added Cllr John Goddard, Chair of South Gloucestershire Council’s Resources Sub-Committee. “These improvements will ensure South Gloucestershire continues to be recognised as a great place to live and do business.”

BT has so far won all of the funding available under BDUK, which seeks to fund the deployment of superfast broadband into rural regions of the nation, prompting a European Union investigation to determine whether or not it amounted to state aid.

However the EU gave its blessing late last year, paving the way for Ainderby Steeple in North Yorkshire became the first settlement in the UK to benefit from BDUK funding.

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