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Thirty of the hardest-to-reach villages and hamlets in rural Northamptonshire will get access to an ultrafast fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) broadband service after the county council awarded two contracts to rural broadband specialist Gigaclear.
The contract, which encompasses around 6,300 properties, will benefit from £6.58m of public money – £4.9m from Northamptonshire Council and £1.68m from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Gigaclear itself will contribute a further £3.65m to the scheme.
It forms Stage Three of the county’s Superfast Northamptonshire BDUK programme, which to date has passed over 70,000 properties with an up-to-24Mbps fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) service from BT.
“Having a county with excellent broadband infrastructure is essential if we want to be able to compete economically with other areas,” said Ian Morris, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for the Superfast Northamptonshire programme.
“The contracts awarded to Gigaclear will enable local businesses to benefit from some of the fastest broadband speeds available, which is good news for data-hungry operations and will to help boost the bottom line, whilst access to ultrafast broadband at home means the whole family can get online to take advantage of all that the internet has to offer.”
The council was the third authority in the UK to launch its Stage Three procurement in September 2016, inviting bids from telecoms suppliers to plan, design, build and operate next-generation access (NGA) broadband networks, with a brief to support download speeds of over 30Mbps, topping the government’s defined metric for so-called superfast broadband.
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“The fact that Gigaclear is winning more and more contracts like this one is a huge step in the right direction in the campaign for pure fibre, as we continue to connect thousands of people to speeds of up to 1Gbps,” said Gigaclear business development director Joe Frost.
“We are excited to work in partnership with the Superfast Northamptonshire team. This, together with our current and planned commercial coverage, will mean that we expect to be delivering ultrafast to more than 25,000 residents and business premises in rural Northamptonshire,” he added.
Gigaclear – which has won several other BDUK contracts around the UK – said that, subject to surveying work, it hoped to make further details of its plans available to the general public by May 2017.