Ultra-fast broadband speeds of up to 1 Gbps could soon be available to thousands of homes and businesses in the remotest areas of the county as part of the latest stage of the Superfast Northamptonshire broadband project.
Northamptonshire County Council has signed two contracts with ultrafast broadband provider Gigaclear Plc to deliver Stage Three of the project, which will concentrate on providing the broadband infrastructure to rural areas.
How many will benefit?
About 6,300 premises are set to benefit from the fibre-to-the-premises technology after Gigaclear was awarded the contracts following a competitive procurement process.
A total of £6.58million of public money is being invested in Stage Three, with £4.9million from the county council and £1.68million from the Department for Culture Media and Sport as part of its Superfast Britain programme. Gigaclear will be investing £3.65million in the county.
Cllr Ian Morris, whose county council cabinet portfolio covers the Superfast Northamptonshire project, said: “I’m delighted that we’re going to be working with Gigaclear on Stage Three of our Superfast Northamptonshire project, which will focus on those hardest to reach rural areas, which are the most difficult to serve with infrastructure.
“Having a county with excellent broadband infrastructure is essential if we want to be able to compete economically with other areas. 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 on-line to take advantage of all that the internet has to offer.”
Joe Frost, business development director at Gigaclear, said: “Winning the Superfast Northamptonshire contracts means that we can now set the wheels in motion for providing a futureproof, pure fibre network to people living and working the most remote corners of the county. Rural Northamptonshire will be one of the best connected areas in the UK as a result.
“This will be life-changing for residents and have a huge impact on the local economy as the ultrafast speeds attract organisations to the area. 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.
“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.”
Minister of State for Digital and Culture, Matt Hancock said: “Nine out of ten homes in the UK can now get superfast broadband and the Government's rollout is continuing at pace. We're taking superfast speeds to an extra 3,000 premises every single day, and another 6,300 homes and businesses in Northamptonshire will now get a fast, full fibre connection as a result of this new contract with Gigaclear.”
The Superfast Northamptonshire project is investing to extend the telecoms network in the county to provide superfast broadband in areas which otherwise would not be served.
The county council was just the third authority nationally to launch its Stage Three proposals, which invited bids from telecoms suppliers to plan, design, build, operate and maintain high performance broadband networks referred to as ‘Next Generation Access’ (NGA).
The brief was for network proposals to be capable of supporting download speeds of over 30Mbps and at least doubling the speed available overall in the areas served.