Superfast broadband ‘vital to the economy’

NORTHAMPTONSHIRE County Council (NCC) has been told to come forward and seek investment if it wants superfast broadband to be rolled out across the Daventry district.

BT’s programme director Johnny McQuoid said the only way the whole region will get superfast speeds is if NCC targets every area for a cash injection. He was speaking exclusively to the Gusher at a conference in Northern Ireland last week.

The Daventry Express was invited over by BT to see how Northern Ireland has achieved superfast internet speeds in 85 per cent of the country.

Last month we launched a campaign to make sure the Daventry district gets its fair share of cash when high internet speeds are rolled out across the county.

So far NCC has £34 million to spend on superfast broadband through Government grants and private investment. And BT is spending a total of £2.5 billion in a bid to get superfast broadband to two thirds of the UK by 2015.

Mr McQuoid said: “It’s up to NCC how it spends the money. We are already covering a certain area of the country and after that it’s up to the council to say ‘we want you to invest in these areas of Daventry, what can you offer?’

“We might then say to the council ‘you put £20 million in and we’ll put £10 million in’, but another private company might come in and say ‘we’ll put £20 million in’. Then it’s just a case of who the county council decides to work with.”

The conference heard how the installation of superfast broadband during the past two years in Northern Ireland has been ‘vital to the country’s economy’. The set-up means there are minimum speeds of 2mbps in rural areas and 10mps in urban areas.

Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s minister of enterprise, trade and investment, said: “The fact we can sell ourselves as a broadband region is proving far more vital when we ask people to invest. We would be a lot further behind where we are now if we hadn’t engaged in this programme.”

To get behind our campaign call into the Daventry Express office to sign the petition. Or visit http://www.petitiononline.co.uk and search for Daventry or go to http://tinyurl.com/43vjdve