Kent and Medway sign superfast broadband deal
(ENP Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ENP Newswire - 20 March 2013
Release date- 18032013 - One of the biggest infrastructure projects in Kent's history will start this year as better broadband is delivered across the county by Kent County Council and BT.
Announced today, the partnership is backed by GBP10m of council funding GBP9.87m from central government and GBP19.6m from BT. The contract, which is being signed today, follows the enormously successful 'Make Kent Quicker' campaign, which saw thousands of people sign up and say they wanted more from their broadband.
The Make Kent Quicker project was set up to bring broadband to every property in Kent and Medway - and make sure that most will be able to access superfast broadband services. Without this project, many rural business and communities would continue to have either no or very slow broadband services as there are no market-led plans to upgrade infrastructure in many rural parts of the county.
Now, the combination of public funding and private investment, alongside existing roll-out plans, will make sure that at least 95% of properties in Kent will have access to higher-speed fibre broadband by the end of 2015 (with 91% having access to superfast speeds of 24mbps and above) - and every property in the project area able to access download speeds of at least 2mbps.
Surveyors will be making their way across Kent during the rest of this year with 2014 and 2015 expected to be particularly busy as hundreds of miles of fibre are installed, helping to keep the county connected and competitive.
As a result of this new contract, thousands of homes and businesses in Kent and Medway stand to benefit and the improvement could deliver GBP1.5bn to the county's economy each year.
Roger Gough, KCC Cabinet member for business strategy, performance and health reform, said: 'This is great news for Kent and marks the start of a particularly large-scale, landmark infrastructure project for Kent, which is about making sure that no one misses out on broadband.
'Just as the thousands of miles of rail and roads are essential in bringing the county together, this is an essential network for Kent. I am looking forward to seeing how, by working with BT, we can keep the county connected and competitive for the future.
'I would like to thank everyone who got involved in the 'Make Kent Quicker' campaign, which was crucial in showing that the county wanted the improvements that are now on their way.'
Bill Murphy, BT's managing director for next generation access, said: 'This is a fantastic achievement for Kent and will position the county as a broadband leader - and ahead of the chasing pack. BT is delighted to be partnering them on this far-reaching plan. 'This beautiful county, home to the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, will now start to see high-speed fibre broadband roll-out extended and this will enable more local businesses to think global as well as enhancing education and transforming the way consumers use the internet.'
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: 'Kent is now well and truly on the way to providing better broadband access and speeds to the entire county. This project will deliver superfast broadband to thousands of homes and businesses and bring a massive boost to the local economy, as well as making things like gaming, watching BBC iPlayer or downloading films much quicker and hassle-free.'
Notes to editors
1. Plans will be developed through the rest of 2013 for when different parts of the county will have improved broadband installed. Once the programme has been worked out, more information about the timing of the roll-out will be shared with the public.
2. It will not be possible to confirm the geographical phasing of the rollout until after the procurement has been completed and initial survey work has been undertaken.
3. The infrastructure upgrades being funded by this project will be 'open access'. This means that any Internet Service Provider can choose to use the infrastructure to provide customers with new services.
4. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) will be the main technology deployed. This delivers downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps. The average downstream speed in Kent is currently around 11Mbps. Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) technology - delivering ultra-fast speeds of up to 330Mbps - will also be deployed in certain areas and will start to be available on demand from the Spring throughout the whole of the fibre footprint. Satellite and advanced copper solutions will also be used to boost services in the most challenging areas.
5. Openreach, BT's local network division, plans to commercially launch fibre to the premise (FTTP) on demand during Spring 2013 and will levy an installation charge for the service. 330Mbps and 80Mbps are the top wholesale speeds available from Openreach to all service providers; speeds offered by service providers may vary.
6. The government's broadband arm is Broadband Delivery UK, usually referred to as BDUK, and is a unit of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Through this unit, GBP9.7m has been promised to support the improvement of Kent and Medway's broadband infrastructure.
7. DCMS is confident that the provisions set out in the framework and call-off contracts should enable value for money to be delivered through these projects.
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