Durham broadband project moves into procurement phase
Durham County Council is moving forward with its Digital Durham project to improve broadband access and increase the availability of superfast broadband in the county. A tweet has revealed that the project is moving into the procurement phase, and can thus move closer to announcing a commercial partner.
The project has £7.79m from the BDUK to meet their goals, and will be adding its funding, plus European money and will endeavour to obtain as much commercial investment from its partner as possible. The county is split down the middle, with 90% of the population living in the eastern half, with large areas of the western half being thinly populated and forming part of the North Pennines which is designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Digital Durham bid sets out a rough timeline that the council will be trying to follow:
- Public internet WiFi access from all Council occupied buildings by the end of 2012/13
- 60% of premises to have 30Mbps or greater by the end of 2013/14.
- Public internet WiFi access from all community buildings by the end of 2014/15.
- 90% of premises to have 30Mbps or greater by the end of 2014/15 and 100% of remaining premises to have at least 2Mbps.
- 100% of premises to have 30Mbps or greater by the end of 2016/17
- Provide a high ratio of fibre to the premises (FTTP) to fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) (higher percentage the better).
The project model as things stand now appears to be based around costs of providing, FTTC to exchanges with no superfast, FTTC enabling cabinets on exchanges where commercial providers have not enabled, costs of providing service in uplands and hard to reach areas, and use of FTTP to deliver speeds of 100 Mbps and faster to 10%.
For residents and businesses in County Durham, there is a short survey as part of the projects need to understand demand for superfast broadband across the county.