09
June
2015
|
12:42
Europe/Amsterdam

Mayor Announces New Broadband Project Will Extend High-speed Broadband Access to Another 5,500 Homes and Businesses

Extra Council funding had resulted in a deal to take Bedford Borough Superfast coverage to over 96% of premises

  • High-speed access will be extended to villages across all parts of Bedford Borough, following the deal struck between the Council, partner authorities, Government and BT
  • The Council will continue to press for 100% coverage for Bedford Borough as soon as possible

    Mayor Dave Hodgson has announced that a further 5,500 rural homes and businesses are to gain access to high-speed broadband by end June 2019 under the latest contract agreed between Bedford Borough Council, its partners and BT.

    The contract to deliver this Superfast extension project was topped up by additional council funding in order to maximise the benefits for local households and businesses from this latest phase in the drive to expand fibre coverage. As a result, over 96% of premises in the Borough will have high-speed fibre broadband access by the end of the project, which should begin as soon as the 2014 to 2016 broadband project is completed.

    The latest project will see high-speed coverage extended to villages in all parts of the borough, focusing on both households and businesses. Designed by BT, the delivery plan will deliver high-speed Broadband as soon as possible and was agreed jointly by Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton Borough and Milton Keynes Councils, BT and the Government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

    Commenting, Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "Broadband is a commercial service and the Council is not a broadband provider, but we (along with the Government) have stepped in to bring forward high-speed broadband access for rural communities because the alternative is simply unacceptable for many thousands of rural households. An inadequate broadband service is the number one issue raised with me by rural residents, so we're pleased to be taking this new project above and beyond the target set by government and maximising the benefits for local households and businesses.

    We will work to ensure this contract is delivered in full, with Superfast access expanded to over 96% of households. Funding is already identified to expand coverage beyond this but we will continue to press for high-speed access to be extended to all households and businesses as soon as possible.”

    Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "This is fantastic news for Bedford. Huge progress has already been made in the first part of our rollout of superfast broadband and today's news means that even more homes and businesses can look forward to a much faster and more reliable internet connection".

    Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: “Hard work and commitment to this project has secured further investment which will make fibre broadband available to thousands more homes and businesses.

    “The most important aim is to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from fibre broadband and in as quick a timeframe as possible so this is great news for both businesses and households across the county.”

    A map and postcode checker giving initial indications of phasing and coverage will be available to view on the Borough Council’s broadband web page (www.bedford.gov.uk/broadband).

    -Ends-

    For further information please contact:

    Lydia Santis, Corporate Communications

    Tel: 01234 276 084

    Editors’ notes:

    BT is investing £3.7m in phase 2 of the contract, in addition to the £6.2m it has already invested in phase 1.

    About BDUK

    Superfast Britain is a UK government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:

    - £780 million to extend superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.

    - £150 million to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities.

    - £150 million to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services.

    Administered on behalf of government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life.

    For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk