Complete coverage of superfast broadband in the county has taken a step closer after Northamptonshire County Council was awarded £5.5million from the government.
This latest contribution from the government’s BDUK fund means that the county council can make early progress on the next stage of the Superfast Northamptonshire project, which will see superfast broadband provision extended further and to some of the harder to reach areas of the county.
What's happened so far?
The first stage of the project is being delivered through the council’s co-investment partnership with BT, which should see over 50,000 premises benefit from access to superfast broadband across Northamptonshire by September 2015.
Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for economic growth and infrastructure, said: “This is great news for the people of Northamptonshire as this represents a significant step forward in having total superfast broadband coverage in the county by the end of 2017.
“We are becoming more reliant on the internet, particularly for business but also in home life, leisure as well as the provision of services like education and healthcare. In the coming years it will be unthinkable to not have adequate broadband speeds and this project is making sure that we’re ready.
“The county council has secured more money from government than we’d hoped for and I’m delighted that we’re in such a strong position in taking forward this project to the next stage.”
How did we get the money?
The county council received an indicative allocation from BDUK of £3.64m in February. The county council’s Cabinet agreed in March to make a bigger bid to government of £5.5million; this was in the light of our readiness to deliver and our strong local ambition to achieve full coverage. BDUK’s endorsement of this bid, combined with our local match funding and further private sector investment, could help deliver to a further 30,000 or more premises across the county.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “I’m hugely impressed with the Superfast Northamptonshire project and they are thoroughly deserving of this additional investment.
“Already on track to deliver superfast speeds to over 50,000 local homes and businesses by September 2015, the extra £5.5m we are making available will help take superfast broadband even further, to some of the hardest to reach places in the county.”
The county council is one of the authorities at the forefront of this second phase of BDUK’s Superfast programme nationally.
What happens next?
The next step for the county council will be working with BDUK on a procurement programme, before plans on how the superfast broadband infrastructure will be extended are published in the autumn.
The county council will be investing a further £2m on top of over £4m already committed to the broadband programme and contributions from the district and borough councils will add to the funding pot to help us achieve more.