One of the more challenging counties to provide Superfast broadband across has put an end to the debate of whether they will or won't award the project to BT. Cumbria County Council has apparently after reviewing a report on a revised bid from BT awarded the contract to the firm. Fujitsu previously withdrew over worries it would not attract retail providers to actually sell the service they planned.
The contract sees some £40m of funding injected alongside an investment of £30m from BT, creating a total project fund of £70m. The £40m includes £17.1m from the BDUK, and while it is still to be confirmed hopefully £15.4m from the European Regional Development Fund.
While there is not currently the detail that the Norfolk project has revealed, we know that the project will ensure over 93% have access to superfast broadband by the end of 2015. We expect a good number of properties in the final 7% who should anyway see minimum access speeds of 2 Mbps, may see better speeds through initiatives like the Fell End Rural Community Broadband project.
Residents and businesses in Cumbria should not expect work to start immediately, EU State Aid approval is expected in November 2012, but planning with BT will start now. So hopefully in the closing months of 2012 clearer information on what to expect and when will appear on the Connecting Cumbria website.