The announcement that BT has gained another BDUK project contract is not really news in itself, but the detail of the announcement and timeline is important for businesses and residents of the two counties covered by today's contract signing.
This latest contract covers Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and is worth a total of £18.06 million and should see a goal of over 90% of the premises in the two counties being able to access a fibre based broadband service. The project has a end date of March 2016, and should mean that another 52,500 properties on top of the 553,000 properties that can get fibre (FTTC) based services as part of the commercial roll-out by Openreach.
The remaining properties across the two counties are set to be delivered a minimum speed of 2 Mbps. Interestingly the press release only talks about FTTC based services, so there is a chance that the two counties will not have any native FTTP deployed via the project and more strangely FTTP on Demand which should become available to all FTTC areas over the course of of 2013/2014 is missing.
The most important date now is that the first areas to be upgraded as part of the project are not expected until the middle of 2014.
For those chasing the numbers, the £18.06m is broke down with £1.61m from Hertfordshire County Council, Buckinghamshire £3.7m, £4.15m from BDUK, Local Enterprise Partnerships £2.2m and the balance of £8.6m from BT. The project is set to make fibre broadband available to 38,528 extra premises in Buckinghamshire and 14,010 in Hertfordshire but no indication of the speeds that these premises will get.