Cumbria County Council has accepted a bid from BT to rollout broadband across the region in a deal, likely to exceed £70 million, that the council says will give about 93 per cent of the county access to superfast broadband by the end of 2015 and deliver £2 million worth of public sector efficiency savings.
It has been almost two years since the county was selected by the government to show other councils how to get superfast broadband, but had several issues.
Bids by BT and Fujitsu were rejected in June and eventually Fujitsu pulled out of the second round of bidding, leaving BT with no competition and leading to the remarks of a Cumbrian MP who said that giving all the council’s funding to BT is ‘nonsense’.
However, Stewart Young, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council, believes that “being a national pilot means this has been a long, complex and challenging process but the time and resources invested means we are now in a position to make a well informed decision that will drive out maximum benefits for our county and ensure we provide the very best broadband services to Cumbria.”
The UK government has committed to at least GBP 730 million towards setting up the best broadband network in Europe by 2015, and so far BT is the only supplier to have public sector funding from local authorities to meet this target.
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