BT wins more BDUK cash in the Northeast in £3.8m deal to extend fibre to 97 percent of Newcastle-on-Tyne
Newcastle City Council claims its agreement to extend fibre to 97 percent of Newcastle Upon-Tyne as part of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme will allow it to have some of the fastest broadband speeds of any major city in Europe and make it one of the best connected in the UK.
The council has agreed a £3.8 million deal with BT to build on the commercial investment it has made to bring fibre to a number of areas in the city, including parts of central Newcastle, Gosforth, Jesmond and Leamington.
The work will be completed by the end of summer 2015 and the council is looking at ways to increase coverage even further, although it says everyone will have access to at least 2Mbps.
BT is paying £1.89 million towards the project, with Newcastle City Council contributing £970,000 and BDUK supplying the same amount. The council says the deal will boost the local economy and help create or protect local jobs by increasing the city’s competitiveness both in the UK and abroad.
“Given that the internet is integral to how we live our lives now, from shopping online to playing games to watching films, ensuring all homes have fibre broadband access will put Newcastle at the forefront of ensuring that residents are fully connected, “says Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council. ““In addition, high speed reliable broadband access is an essential modern day business tool, and we are determined that we will have the best connectivity of any European city to make Newcastle a natural home for businesses to grow in the future.”
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. Earlier today, BT announced a separate deal covering Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire.
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