Peterborough signs Super Broadband Deal

Businesses and communities in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire will have some of the best fibre broadband coverage in the country following a deal with BT to provide a countywide high speed network by the end of 2015

Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council have today signed a contract with BT that exceeds its ambition to bring better broadband to Peterborough and Cambridgeshire. As a result, many more homes and businesses will now be able to get superfast broadband and no community will be left without better broadband access when the roll-out is complete.

The new broadband infrastructure will deliver the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme and targets to provide superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps to more than 90 per cent of premises and a minimum of 2Mbps, to very nearly 100 per cent of premises, over the next three years. The technology will be capable of delivering speeds of up to 80Mbps to some premises.

Combined with existing commercial broadband provision, completion of the roll-out under the contract will also mean that in total 98 per cent of homes and businesses across the county can expect to have fibre-based broadband by the end of 2015.

Without the intervention of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, around a third of premises would not be able to access faster broadband services. The scale of the county-wide roll-out will mean some areas will be connected sooner than others, but by starting work now everyone will benefit from better broadband by the end of 2015.

BT was chosen by the council following a competitive selection process. The company will contribute £16 million to the £45 million project, with investment from Peterborough City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Cambridgeshire already has some of the most innovative businesses in the world and investment in better broadband is vital to drive future economic growth. It is anticipated that the roll-out of the new broadband infrastructure across Peterborough and Cambridgeshire will bring an additional £500 million to the local economy in the five years following completion. This means that every £1 invested will bring a return of £11 to the local economy. It will also help to develop new and more cost-effective approaches to the delivery of public services.

Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said:

This is a great deal for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire and will make us one of the best connected areas in the UK over the next three years. We have made it happen by joining forces with our partners and taking the initiative to bring vital connections that will boost the local economy and ensure that those living in isolated communities are not left out of the digital world.  Better broadband will allow us to build upon the business and enterprise success of our region, helping to create local jobs and prosperity for the long term. It will help our communities to thrive and make public services more accessible for our residents, particularly elderly and vulnerable people, and more cost-effective for taxpayers

Bill Murphy, Managing Director, Next Generation Access, BT added:

This is a great achievement coming just one year after the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme was formed. The Connecting Cambridgeshire programme will open up the county to a wealth of opportunities such as growing business and creating jobs in rural areas to providing health, education and public services in better ways and helping young people and adult learners to develop the skills they need to succeed

The competitive process to get the best broadband deal for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire has been successfully completed with the support and advice of BDUK, which has allocated £6.75 million of Government funding to the project.

Getting a good deal was helped by more than 24,000 households and businesses registering for the Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign – making it the most effective in the country – and the fantastic support of over 100 broadband champions.

Work on the project will start immediately with the first locations expected to get fibre later this year. The three-year roll-out will begin with a period of planning and detailed surveying, before Openreach, BT’s local network business, starts work on the ground.

The large-scale project will involve enabling over 100 telephone exchanges. The Connecting Cambridgeshire team will be working closely with BT, neighbouring authorities, local authority planning teams, broadband champions and local communities to ensure the roll-out is as speedy and efficient as possible.

BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Peterborough and Cambridgeshire consumers and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, in turn bringing greater choice and affordable prices.

The fibre-based network will allow businesses to introduce many new services and applications. Big business applications driven by cloud services and data centres will now be within the reach of firms of all sizes. Computer back-up, storage and processing will be faster, and the use of high quality videoconferencing by firms and their customers will be possible, which can also help to reduce transport demand.

The new technology will also transform the way people use the internet in the home – enabling them to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same, speeding up the simple sharing of pictures and video and enjoying the growing boom in entertainment services available online.

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