Progress in bid to see superfast broadband become a reality

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Provision of superfast broadband network across the county has moved a step closer with county council bosses starting the tendering process to deliver the multi-million pound scheme.

The project is for the delivery of superfast broadband infrastructure to areas of the county where the market deems it not to be commercially viable to build enhanced telecoms infrastructure.

In July the government announced the council would be one of just five councils included in the first wave of the national roll-out programme.

Councillor Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for infrastructure and public protection, said: “I’m delighted that this very important project is moving ahead as scheduled and that Northamptonshire is one of only a handful of counties involved in this first wave of the roll-out. It also the only area which is putting in place plans for full superfast broadband coverage.

“It’s absolutely essential that Northamptonshire as a location can offer superfast broadband speeds if we are to be a strong competitor in the global digital economy.”

“It also allows everyone to have access to new and improved services that are increasingly available online.”

The council’s ambition is to bring potential internet speeds of at least 30Mb/sec for every household and business in the county by 2017.

The benefits of superfast broadband are numerous for the economy - it will not only benefit local businesses but make it easier to access education, training, entertainment and public services.

An independent economic impact assessment to understand what impact enabling access to superfast broadband could have on the local economy in the rural areas covered by the project found that it could lead to the creation of 1,446 additional jobs by 2026 and generate an additional annual income of £92m to the local economy.

The superfast Northamptonshire project largely has a rural focus as these areas tend to have much slower speeds – some below the government’s minimum standards of 2Mb/sec.

It is expected that through this project all premises in the county will receive a minimum access line speed of 2mbps by 2015.

One of the key purposes of the county council’s strategy is providing public sector funding to fill the funding gap necessary to attract private investment to deliver superfast broadband across the whole county.

The county council is aiming for 2,000 businesses to be connected by 2014, at least 90 per cent of the county to have superfast broadband speeds by the end of 2015 with full coverage by 2017.

For the latest information visit the blog site www.superfastnorthamptonshire.net ENDS

In March, BDUK, the body that is overseeing the roll-out nationally, selected BT and Fujitsu as the two companies to be used in its framework agreement.