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Milton Keynes Council looking at five year partnership with Pipex
Wednesday 15 February 2006 09:30:00 by Andrew Ferguson

It would seem Pipex and Milton Keynes Council are on the verge of partnership that will initially last five years. The Council in Milton Keynes is looking for a way that a local authority controlled or influenced company can drive both its own telecommunications costs down and trade in broadband services for residents and businesses in the area. The full report can be be found at Milton Keynes Council website, with the Telecommunications Partnership document located here.

The report highlights the history of broadband/telecommunications and its various ups and downs in Milton Keynes. A shortened version is that the existing cable network needs upgrading to match the digital cable networks in the UK. The existing BT local loop is a mixture of lower quality copper and aluminium wire, and is also blessed with TPON, combine this with longer than average distances to exchanges and DSL technologies are suffering in the area.

The people of Milton Keynes and the Council have been proactive in campaigning for more action, and groups like BB4MK are also at the forefront of this battle, keeping residents informed on progress with projects. The council also ran a wireless broadband pilot scheme in conjunction with NTL. The feedback from these schemes and other sources, has lead the Council to recognise a substantial demand for broadband services in the area, and particularly a desire for speeds of 2Mbps or faster.

At present the deal with Pipex is not signed and sealed, but it seems Pipex are considered the best overall tender. Some of the attractive prospects are that Pipex hold wireless licenses for the 3.4GHz to 3.6GHz spectrum, the Pipex tender also gives an undertaking to invest in the network infrastructure including unbundling the local loop and with plans to offer speeds of 8Mbps and 24Mbps.

This news is great for residents of Milton Keynes, hopefully 2006 will see them start to reap the rewards, both through better connections for their homes and businesses but cost savings for the council. With the dual options of unbundling and wireless broadband there is scope for people to see significant speed jumps.


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