Warwickshire leads West Midlands BDUK deal

BT has won another government contract to roll out broadband, winning the bid for Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry

BT has won another government contract to roll out broadband, winning the bid for Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry.

The deal was announced today, which will see more than 400,000 homes and businesses gain access to superfast broadband – or speeds of 24Mbps and up – by spring 2016. 

BT is also carrying out its own commercial roll-out which plans to reach 1.7 million homes in the region by the start of 2014.

The aim, however, is all premises in Warwickshire, Solihull and Coventry to have a minimum connection of 2Mbps by the end of the project.

Councillor Alan Cockburn, deputy leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “This is a major landmark in securing the future competitiveness of our area.

“We have been working for a long time to get to this stage and, thanks to the information provided to the team by our local broadband champions and by residents and communities we have been able to negotiate the best possible deal.”

Overall, eight local authorities are contributing a total of £4.45m to fund the scheme – £3m of which is from Warwickshire – under the umbrella organisation of CSW Broadband. This figure has then been matched by central government broadband development funding (BDUK).

The last of the cash comes from BT, which is topping up the pot with £5.67m, bringing total investment to £14.57m.  

Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Next Generation Access, said: “The economy of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire has seen considerable change, with the emergence of more knowledge-based businesses and changes to the manufacturing base of the area, which is embracing new technologies and new ways of working.

“These are where future growth will be, but only with a world-class communications infrastructure to support them which is where fibre broadband will play a vital role.”

The BDUK project is tasked with providing the UK with the best broadband infrastructure in Europe by the end of this parliament – 2015. Initially there were two accredited providers bidding for the regional contracts. However, Fujitsu pulled out of the process in March, claiming BT was already tipped to win all the contracts and it would be a waste of its time. 

BT has strongly refuted such claims.

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