BT Wins Coventry, Solihull And Warwickshire BDUK Funding

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 funding after agreeing West Midlands broadband deal

BT has agreed a £14.57 million BDUK deal to bring fibre to 91 percent of all homes and businesses in Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire by Spring 2016.

A contract was signed with CSW Broadband, a partnership of eight local authorities led by Warwickshire County Council, which claimed the deal would narrow the gap between urban and rural broadband and transform Internet speeds across the county.

BT has already connected 1.7 million premises in the West Midlands counties and this BDUK deal will ensure that another 40,000 premises receive speeds of at least 24Mbps. The aim is to ensure that all properties are able to access at least 2Mbps, with the vast majority receiving faster speeds.

West Midlands broadband

CoventryAccording to Ofcom, the average download speed in Warwickshire is currently around 12Mbps, while around 13 percent receive less than 2Mbps.

BT will provide £5.67 million towards the project, while CSW Broadband will pay £4.45 million, £3 million of which will come from Warwickshire County Council. BDUK will allocate £4.45 million of government funding.

“This is a major landmark in securing the future competitiveness of our area,” said Warwickshire County Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Alan Cockburn, speaking on behalf of CSW Broadband.

“We have been working for a long time to get to this stage and, thanks to the information provided to the team by our local broadband champions and by residents and communities we have been able to negotiate the best possible deal.

BDUK funding

“Good broadband connections are essential to modern life, whether for work, leisure or learning. Our rural businesses need broadband to be able to compete in today’s increasingly global environment and in a rural area like Warwickshire travelling can often be difficult, so that being able to work or learn from home can make a real difference to the quality of people’s lives.”

BT has so far won all the money available from BDUK, having previously announced partnerships in a number of areas, including Kent, Durham and Northumberland. 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.

However, BT recently encountered a more unlikely obstacle during its rollout of fibre. Engineering work to connect residents in the Easingwold area of North Yorkshire to the BT Openreach fibre network has been temporarily suspended after engineers discovered badger setts along the planned route for a cable connecting 450 properties to the local exchange.

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