Cornwall to get disputed £132m fibre broadband network


Cornwall to get disputed £132m fibre broadband network

Ian Grant

Plans to give businesses and homes in one of the UK's poorest counties high-speed internet access through fibre to the premises were unveiled today despite a complaint to the European courts about alleged unfair competition for the £132m contract.

BT won the contract to supply Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with high-speed broadband. BT will provide £78.5m with the balance of £53.5m coming from a European Regional Development Fund grant.

The project will benefit tens of thousands of local businesses, create 4,000 new local jobs and protect a further 2,000, BT said.

BT said the aim was to give between 80% and 90% of local businesses and homes access to 100Mbps fibre broadband by 2014. "Fibre to the premise (FTTP) technology will feature heavily, with the expectation being that half of local businesses and homes will have access to it," BT said.

BT said the exact amount of fibre deployed would depend on detailed surveys. "The area will benefit from faster broadband thanks to the creation of a high-speed network that will be open to all communications providers on a wholesale basis," the telco said.

Vtesse Networks, which was the losing bidder, has complained to the European courts that BT's regulated Openreach division did not provide Vtesse with the same access to its network on the same terms and conditions that it offered other BT divisions.

Vtesse previously appealed to the European courts about BT receiving illegal state aid, but was rebuffed. The decision is still under appeal.

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