Another contract has been signed to improve broadband, today has Milton Keynes Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council signing a contract with BT that is worth £12 million in total.
The project aims to increase fibre coverage in the area from the current commercial levels to some 91% of premises by Spring 2016. The scale of this improvement is such that an extra 33,000 homes and businesses should benefit from the project, with around 32,000 of these benefiting from speeds that are at least 24 Mbps. The homes and businesses in the remaining 9% should still see improvements to bring their speeds up to a minimum of 2 Mbps.
The commercial footprint for fibre based services currently is of the order of 190,000 premises in Central Bedfordshire and Bedford Borough and another 50,000 in Milton Keynes itself. The project while the usual mainly FTTC mix is talking of full fat fibre (FTTP) being deployed in some areas and as Milton Keynes already has FTTP in some places it would make sense to extend that network.
Unfortunately as with all the other BDUK projects the funding levels involved generally are of the level where a FTTC based roll-out is the only reasonable fibre option. In this joint project the £12 million is made up of £2m from the BDUK, £0.44m Bedford Borough Council, £1.2m Central Bedfordshire Council and Milton Keynes Council £2.4m, the balance being £6.2m from BT. This gives a pot of £363 per premise, or to put the size of the BDUK funding into true perspective the central Government has added £60/property to improve broadband in the area. This rough calculation also ignores any spending to bring broadband speeds up to a minimum of 2 Mbps to the final 9% in the project footprint.
The next stages for the project as with all the others across the UK will be planning and determining the roll-out order, so it is a case of keeping an eye on the local council websites for updates.