Northamptonshire signs contract for 95% target
The Government target of 95% coverage of superfast broadband is either ambitious or a waste of money depending on your viewpoint, but Northamptonshire with the signing of its extension contract with BT is spending money to improve broadband in the county.
Northamptonshire is working towards 90% coverage at superfast speeds by the end of 2015 currently (fibre based availability will be higher) and the new £10.6m contract will extend this work, starting in 2016 and ending in September 2018. The contract comprises £7.6m of public money and another £3 million from BT with the goal of getting superfast broadband to another 20,465 premises.
Northamptonshire was previously thought to be working towards superfast for everyone at some point in 2017 and thus hitting 95% in late 2018 is a shift of the goal posts and reading the council blog it seems they are going to try and apply pressure to BT to get this date brought forward.
Of course it would be possible to complete earlier, but whether this is possible with all the other projects underway and also allowing for unforeseen circumstances and remaining within the fixed budgets is another matter. As for that final 5%, more news next year.
The Northamptonshire site is one of the better sites for information in that it provides a list of which cabinets have been enabled via the project and also gives the breakdown for the number of premises that can get fibre based broadband as a result of the funding.
While we would love BT or anyone other provider to promise FTTH for a decent percentage of UK households, the fact that BT who is already employing contractors for much of the BDUK is sometimes struggling to keep up suggests that any roll-out with a high percentage of full fibre connectivity would actually be an even longer job (even if you ignore the costs).