New multi-million pound contract will make high-speed broadband available to around 18,000homes and businesses in central Bedfordshire, Luton, Bedford and Milton Keynes

The Central Superfast Partnership has signed a second multi million pound contract with BT to make high-speed fibre broadband more widely available for local homes and businesses.

 The Central Superfast Partnership has signed a second multi million pound contract with BT to make high-speed fibre broadband more widely available for local homes and businesses.

The Central Superfast programme, a partnership between Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes and Luton Borough councils, BT and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme, is making a combined investment of £11.2m to deliver phase two of the fibre rollout.

The second phase of work follows the current phase one programme that will enable more than 40,000 homes and businesses to access fibre broadband. It also follows BT’s commercial rollout of fibre broadband, which has already reached more than 195,000 premises in the county as a whole.

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "This is fantastic news for the Central Superfast programme. 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.”

The latest plan builds on the BT’s commercial fibre broadband programme which has already made the high-speed technology available to more than 195,000 households and businesses in 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: http://www.luton.gov.uk/Business/broadband/Pages/default.aspx

Fibre broadband is the future of broadband – much faster and more reliable than conventional broadband services. This opens up new opportunities for local businesses in particular, offering fresh ways of connecting with customers and potential customers, ensuring every business is ready to develop and grow.Key advantages include talking to colleagues, clients and partners on high quality real-time video calls, using shared online workspaces to take collaborative working to a whole new level, and using hosted applications to reduce software and licensing costs.Combined with the ability to access online data storage from anywhere, businesses can dramatically cut the cost of computer hardware and help their staff to work more efficiently and effectively, cutting travel and costs.

Cllr Sian Timoney, Deputy Leader of Luton Borough Council and portfolio holder for Regeneration, said:“Under this latest contract, more than 18,000 homes and businesses in Luton will be able to get fibre broadband by June 2019. This exciting programme will further increase Luton’s attractiveness as a business location, capitalising on recent key improvements to our infrastructure including the new inner ring road and major improvements to M1 Junction 10A.

To find out more about this programme visit: http://www.luton.gov.uk/Business/broadband/Pages/default.aspx

Notes to editors:

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 BT

BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world.It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of five customer-facing lines of business: BT Global Services, BT Business, BT Consumer, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

For the year ended 31 March 2015, BT Group’s reported revenue was £17,979mwith reported profit before taxation of £2,645m.

British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on stock exchanges in London and New York.

For more information, visit www.btplc.com.

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