Norfolk County Council announce BT as better broadband partner
Norfolk County Council has announced details of the contract winner for the partner to bring superfast broadband to around 80% of the homes and businesses in Norfolk. The final council approval of this decision will take place at a public meeting on Monday 17th September at County Hall, Norwich. The meeting should confirm BT as the commercial partner and BT is putting £9.3m towards the project, the County Council £15 million and £15m from the BDUK fund.
"Previously poor broadband access has held so many of our residents and businesses back. This partnership with BT will change all that. It will allow our businesses to be more efficient, open up marketing and trade opportunities, and encourage entrepreneurship and small companies to flourish in our county. This means more jobs in Norfolk, and we're anticipating that the better broadband services that will become available will lead to an estimated 1,300 jobs being created over the next 10 years."Ann Steward, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Norfolk County Council
The release on the Norfolk website, provides more detail on broadband speeds than is usual in these type of announcements. The minimum speed across Norfolk in June 2015 will be 2 Mbps.
UPDATE Monday 17th September: A simpler spread of expected download speeds across the county on the projects completion has been published:
- 6% connecting at over 100 Mbps
- 49% connecting at 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps
- 17% connecting at 24 Mbps to 50 Mbps
- 6% connecting at 13 Mbps to 23 Mbps
- 14% connecting at 6 Mbps to 12 Mbps
- 8% connecting at 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps
While the speeds will draw criticism that the project is not delivering faster speeds, it should be remembered that without the project that some 57% of the county would not have access to superfast broadband.
As with the other projects, there is the small issue of EU State Aid Approval, and other procurement steps that should see the formal awarding of the contract in the autumn. Though it seems there is confidence as planning for time lines is to get underway.