The county council’s Superfast Northamptonshire project, which has an ambitious target to see superfast broadband available countywide by the end of 2017, has completed its £12.9 million first stage three months ahead of schedule.
Working with BT, superfast broadband (download speeds above 24Mbps) has also been made available to more premises than originally expected, helping Northamptonshire remain one of the top performing broadband projects in the country.
Across the county, more than 53,900 homes and businesses which otherwise wouldn’t be served – many of them in rural areas - are now able to take up superfast broadband services. In addition, thousands more have seen an increase in speed and can now benefit from faster fibre broadband.
With the original contract due to run until March 2016, it means the work has been delivered more than three months earlier than planned, and under budget.
Work is already underway on a second Superfast Northamptonshire contract that was awarded to BT by the county council in November 2014. This will extend the availability of superfast broadband to an additional 20,450 homes and businesses by December 2017.
Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for economic growth and strategic infrastructure, said: “Northamptonshire County Council has an ambitious target to see superfast broadband available across the county by the end of 2017.
“We are well on the way towards this goal but there are many people who need faster broadband right now.
“We are investing with Government in the national Satellite Scheme to ensure that those people in the county suffering the worst broadband speeds have an opportunity to access faster services whilst our Superfast Northamptonshire project continues to deliver.”
Around 90 per cent of households and businesses in Northamptonshire can now take up a fibre broadband service.
Steve Henderson, BT’s regional director for next generation access, said: “We are delighted to have delivered this first contract early. It shows just how well BT and Northamptonshire County Council are working together, which puts us in a really good place to deliver the next stage of the programme. When you also take into account BT’s own commercial fibre broadband rollout programme, it means more than 245,000 Northamptonshire homes and businesses are able to do so much more online thanks to fibre broadband.”
Superfast Northamptonshire is a multi-million pound project, which has already involved the installation of more than 300 new green roadside fibre broadband cabinets and structures and the laying of more than 490 kilometres of underground cable.
The county council has secured £16.2 million of public funds committed through two contracts with BT, including contributions from Government, the county council and local partners. BT are investing £6.9m.
The high-speed network installed by BT’s local network business, Openreach, is available on an open, wholesale basis to all internet service providers (ISPs), therefore offering Northamptonshire households and businesses the benefit of real choice from a highly competitive market.
To access the benefits of superfast broadband, residents and businesses should contact their internet service provider and enquire about an upgrade – getting faster broadband does not happen automatically.