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West Yorkshire signs £22m BDUK contract with BT

Jennifer Scott

The latest BDUK contract has been signed and is set to bring superfast broadband to the West Yorkshire region.

Four local authorities have come together for the project, which aims to bring high-speed fibre connections to 97% of homes and businesses by autumn 2015 and give the remaining a minimum of 2Mbps.

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BT has been awarded the contract and the whole scheme is set to cost just under £22m.

Leeds City Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Wakefield Council and Calderdale Council are putting £970,000 into the pot between them and will receive £4.62m from the central government BDUK funding. The remaining £12.58m will come from BT.

Kirkless Council is also getting onboard for an educational programme to show businesses and local residents what benefits they can get from upgrading to superfast broadband.

Keith Wakefield, chair of the association of West Yorkshire authorities (AWYA), said: “This is an important day for West Yorkshire as we take a vital step forward in the digital age. Fast and reliable internet is becoming crucial to daily life and for residents in West Yorkshire, it will provide an equal opportunity to access essential online activities such as council services, healthcare and other public services as well as offering new leisure and educational opportunities.

“I believe it will help us strengthen our economy by giving small businesses a means to develop their potential and achieve their ambitions as well as encouraging new startups and job creation."

The schedule of the roll-out has yet to be finalised but a statement from the councils said citizens would begin to feel the benefit from 2014 onwards.

This is the 38th BDUK contract to be signed out of 44, all of which have been awarded to BT. Unlike many of the other local authorities, West Yorkshire did publish a map of the areas to which it planned to roll out broadband, but we now await a copy of the postcode data to get more exact locations.

To find out more about where BDUK is deploying fibre infrastructure, read an updated article here.


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