BT has won the tender to provide fibre broadband across rural North Yorkshire, the company confirmed today.
The agreement will see the UK’s largest county be the first to receive funding from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, with £17.8m going towards the project.
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A further £8.6m will be provided by the European Regional Development Fund to roll out the internet connections to 90% of the county by 2014.
BT will contribute £10m, on top of its existing commercial investments, to deliver speeds of up to 80Mbps to 365,000 homes and businesses within three years through fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) technology.
Some areas will also be able to access 330Mbps, if businesses choose to upgrade their connections.
“North Yorkshire is a large rural county with many remote premises,” said Carl Les, the deputy leader of North Yorkshire County Council and chairman of the Connecting North Yorkshire project. “As a result, deploying broadband is a particular challenge.
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“We believe the technology is vital to our economic future, however, so we are delighted to have signed this agreement. The project will help local businesses to be competitive and ensure they remain in the county. It can also play an important role in attracting more firms to the county, thereby helping to create jobs for local people.”
Although only confirmed today, rumours that BT had won the bid began last week when Computer Weekly revealed that its rival bidder, Fujitsu, had deliberately withheld vital information from its application to provide rural broadband in Cumbria, another county looking for BDUK funding.
The Japanese company dropped out of the process in the county completely, leaving BT to be the winner by default and starting speculation that it was also likely to win a number of other contracts.
A final decision on Cumbria’s rural broadband roll-out is expected in September.