The mosaic that is the UK broadband landscape has had another blank filled in with the signing of the contract between Leicestershire County Council and BT. The council is investing some £4.1m, BT £8.3m, BDUK £3.3m and £1.23m from the EU (we presume the ERDF), this project total of £19.6 million will be used to push fibre based broadband (FTTC, with possibly some FTTP) to 95% of homes and businesses in the County. Those in the remaining 5% will see minimum speeds of 2 Mbps.
"We predict that faster broadband will create a £92 million* boost to Leicestershire’s economy over the next seven years, by making firms more competitive and attracting inward investment and jobs.
Rural communities and businesses can play a major role in the county’s future, once they have the high speed connections they need to compete nationally and internationally."Blake Pain, the County Council’s cabinet member for economic development
These predictions for the boost to the economy are central to how the councils around the UK are justifying the investment, and thus it will be interesting to see how these return on investments materialise, and while FTTP deployment is a very small part of the UK landscape whether those areas actually see a higher boost. Technically the geek amongst us all would love a full FTTP roll-out, but once you start spending public money, the risk and return on investment rather than the technology tend to be the drivers.
For those living in the county, the council website for more information appears to be www.leics.gov.uk/broadband. The commercial roll-out by Openreach is currently at 190,000 premises across the County, with a target of 270,000 by Spring 2014, the BDUK project should benefit another 55,000 premises (£356 per premise). Our own speed test data reveals that Leicestershire has a median speed of 11.1 Mbps currently, 25% running slower than 4.1 Mbps and 25% at 27.9 Mbps or faster.
The project appears to be the normal predominantly fibre to the cabinet roll-out, but some native FTTP may be deployed, and a strange choice of wording for fibre on demand where the press release says it 'could become available on demand throughout the whole of the fibre footprint.