County council chooses BT for broadband initiative

Cllr Andre Gonzalez de Savage
Cllr Andre Gonzalez de Savage

Plans to introduce superfast broadband to Northamptonshire are a step closer after the county council cabinet approved BT being used to supply the technology.

The county council is aiming for 90 per cent of premises in the county to have superfast – 24Mbps and above – broadband speeds by the end of 2015, with the intention of all premises being able to access at least 2Mbps.

The project, which was agreed yesterday (Wednesday, February 13), is estimated to cost around £34m.

Last year the county council announced that the superfast Northamptonshire Project was only the fifth to receive the green light nationally to use the Government’s Broadband Framework, managed by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), to procure an industry partner to co-invest in the county.

BDUK has allocated more than £4 million of funding for the Northamptonshire initiative, which will be matched by the county council.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “I’m delighted that our plan to deliver superfast broadband throughout the county has reached this very significant stage.

“This will have huge advantages for Northamptonshire as it will allow the county to be a strong competitor in the global digital economy and allow everyone to have access to new and improved services that are increasingly available online.”

Urban areas are generally well served with fast internet speeds because factors such as the relatively high population density means that it is commercially viable for companies, such as BT, to provide the necessary infrastructure.

However rural areas tend to have much slower speeds – some even less than 2Mbps. The cost of extending the infrastructure is much higher and not financially viable in more rural areas where longer distances have to be bridged and where there are fewer potential customers.