High speed fibre broadband is on the way for thousands of homes and businesses across Nottinghamshire following the decision by the County Council to award the £20 million contract to BT.
The Superfast Broadband Nottinghamshire project will build on BT’s commercial investment in the county which will deliver fibre broadband to more than 400,000 premises in the county by the end of 2014.
Once the project is complete, high speed broadband of up to 80Mbps will be available to 95 per cent of homes and businesses by the end of March 2016, with a minimum of 2Mbps broadband speeds for all.
Council chiefs hope the move will open up opportunities for more businesses and schools to get online, creating new jobs and fresh e-learning opportunities, boosting the local economy and educational attainment across the county.
Coun Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “I am very proud to be able to bring a fibre broadband service to 95% of the county’s homes and businesses.
“By working with BT and other partners including the district and city councils, we will end the digital divide experienced by many of our rural areas especially in Newark and Sherwood, Bassetlaw and Rushcliffe.
“The County Council has led the project from the start, going the extra mile by securing an additional £2.7 million of European funding to help even more businesses reap the benefits of joining the information superhighway.
“Businesses, schools and families will all benefit from the significant economic, educational and leisure advantages that high speed broadband brings to everyone with higher online speeds for video, shopping and file sharing.
“Our business training workshops are still available for local firms to find out more about the enormous benefits high speed broadband can bring. Over 150 businesses have already attended a session to gain a better understanding of the new opportunities available online.”
Nottinghamshire County Council is investing £2.5 million in the project and successfully won a bid for an additional £2.7 million of European funding to bring high speed broadband to even more businesses. BDUK, the Government’s broadband delivery arm, is contributing £4.5 million to the scheme with a further £800,000 coming from Nottinghamshire Borough and District Councils. In total, 52,000 business premises and homes will benefit from the project.
The contract will be formally signed at County Hall on Monday 12 August and follows an extensive and thorough procurement process. BT has agreed to contribute £9.3 million to the project.
BT will commence work on planning the roll-out of the new high speed cabling immediately, conducting site surveys to identify how to install thousands of kilometres of high speed fibre optic cable across the county. This detailed information will help to shape the roll-out upgrade plan for connecting homes and businesses, which is expected to start in spring next year.
Research has shown that within 15 years, fibre broadband could bolster the economy of a typical town by £143 million and create 225 new jobs, 140 new start-up businesses and 1,000 more homeworkers.[i]
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, said: “This is exciting news for everyone who lives and works in Nottinghamshire. Superfast broadband will open the doors to countless business opportunities, boosting the rural economy and supporting thriving local communities.
“Deploying fibre broadband is a substantial challenge but a vital one which will help local businesses to be competitive and ensure they remain in the county. It can also play an important role in attracting more firms to the county, helping to create jobs for local people.”
BT was awarded the contract following a procurement exercise through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework. The company is contributing £9.3 million towards fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas with Nottinghamshire County Council investing £2.5 million plus its £4.5 million share of BDUK funds.
The remaining £3.5 million is coming from Nottinghamshire Borough and District Councils and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).[ii] The ERDF funding will be used to enable fibre connections for many of the 6,000 small and medium sized businesses in Nottinghamshire.