Northumberland County Council is the latest local authority to sign its BDUK project contract with BT with the plan looking to complete by January 2016. The £18.9 million contract comprises £2.9 million from BT, £7 million from the County Council and also the BDUK, the remaining £2 million is from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
"This is an important step in the campaign to bring faster broadband speeds to every home, business and school in Northumberland. Working with BT we will be announcing the installation schedule in the coming months and communities across the county can look forward to improved access to online services and better connectivity for businesses from 2014 onwards."Kate Roe, Northumberland County Council’s deputy chief executive
The signed project is built around BT building beyond its current commercial fibre footprint, taking the number of homes and businesses connected to a fibre based broadband service up to 95% of those in the county. Of the 95%, around four percentage points of these premises will only get speeds below the 25 Mbps level. 25 Mbps and faster is the vaguely defined level at which you can call a service super fast for fixed line broadband. The 5% of premises beyond the fibre footprint, should see some improvements as the project is aiming for 2 Mbps or more to all homes and businesses, though there is the hope that as the project progresses that extensions to fibre coverage may be explored to give better speeds to this final 5%.
The project follows the usual predominantly FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) based coverage plan though some native FTTP (Fibre to the Home/Premise) is mentioned in addition to the availability of Fibre on Demand in all FTTC areas.
As with the other BDUK projects do not expect overnight miracles, the first improvements delivered via the project are not expected until January 2014.