Two new deals were confirmed today for the BDUK project, which will see state funding go towards the roll-out of superfast broadband.
BT was awarded the contracts for Oxfordshire and Worcestershire, ensuring it remained the only telecoms company to win any of the government projects.
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Oxfordshire will see £25m invested into the county over two and a half years to bring access to a minimum 24Mbps connection to at least 90% of the population by the end of 2015 – the equivalent of over 64,000 homes and businesses. The local council will put in £10m to the pot, with a further £11m from BT and £4m from central government.
“Oxfordshire is the most rural county in the south east, so we have had to be pragmatic in trying to extend the social and economic benefits of broadband to as many homes and businesses as possible,” said councillor Nick Carter, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for business and customer services.
“The deal we have struck is good value for money and demonstrates the county council’s ambition for a thriving Oxfordshire. Without this intervention, there is a danger that rural areas would be seriously disadvantaged, amounting to as much as a third of the county."
Worcestershire will see just over £20m invested into the project over the next three years, with the same goal of reaching at least 90% of its population. The county council is fronting up £8.5m of the costs, BT will put forward £8.9m and central government will contribute £3.35m.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: “This investment is vital to our county’s future economy, as increased broadband speeds will support and boost the competitiveness of our local businesses, keep skills and job prospects local and provide yet another reason for businesses to come to Worcestershire. I am delighted to be signing contracts today.”
While both projects will begin building in 2014, neither have released the details of which areas will be set to benefit – something Computer Weekly is following up with all councils which have signed BDUK contracts so far.