Leicestershire County Council has signed a contract with BT to roll-out fibre broadband to its residents over the next three years.
The deal is worth £16.9m, with a £4.1m investment from the council, £8.3m from BT and a further £3.3m from central government’s BDUK fund. The final £1.23m is coming from the European Union (EU).
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BT will use the money to deploy fibre and – combined with commercial plans in the area – it should bring connections of up to 80Mbps to 95% of the county’s homes and businesses by the end of March 2016.
As part of the contract, BT will also ensure a minimum speed of 2Mbps for the 5% that do not fall into the roll-out area – this will equate to around 2,400 premises which currently receive less than 2Mbps, according to BT.
“We predict that faster broadband will create a £92m boost to Leicestershire’s economy over the next seven years, by making firms more competitive and attracting inward investment and jobs,” said Blake Pain, cabinet member for economic development at Leicestershire County Council.
“Rural communities and businesses can play a major role in the county’s future, once they have the high-speed connections, they need to compete nationally and internationally.”
Bill Murphy, managing director of next generation access at BT, added: “Faster broadband will help to unlock rural Leicestershire’s economic potential.
“The Leicestershire economy, especially in rural areas, predominantly consists of small and micro businesses. A large number of people are self-employed, work from home and are in the creative, knowledge-based sectors which need high-speed broadband and will provide the driving force for the county’s digital economy.”
BT said survey work will begin in the autumn, with the first upgrade locations being announced early next year.
This is despite the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) telling Computer Weekly each contract signed has a list of postcode data associated with it – defining the areas on where the roll-out will take place – and a direct instruction to local authorities from culture secretary Maria Miller to publish these details as soon as possible.
We are following up with Leicestershire County Council to obtain this post code data.
For more information about where other local authorities are rolling out their BDUK projects – and if they are revealing the data at all – click here.