Leicestershire County Council has agreed a GBP 16.9 million contract with BT for the rollout of fibre broadband across the region over the next three years. The council is providing GBP 4.1 million, GBP 8.3 million is coming from BT and GBP 3.3 million is coming from the BDUK fund. The remaining GBP 1.23 million is coming from the EU.
BT plans to bring connections of up to 80Mbps to 95% of the country’s homes and businesses by the end of March 2016, and will also provide a minimum speed of 2Mbps for the 5% of properties which fall outside the rollout area.
“We predict that faster broadband will create a £92m boost to Leicestershire’s economy over the next seven years, by making firms more competitive and attracting inward investment and jobs,” said Blake Pain, cabinet member for economic development at Leicestershire County Council. “Rural communities and businesses can play a major role in the county’s future, once they have the high-speed connections, they need to compete nationally and internationally.”
Bill Murphy, MD of next generation access at BT, added: “Faster broadband will help to unlock rural Leicestershire’s economic potential. The Leicestershire economy, especially in rural areas, predominantly consists of small and micro businesses. A large number of people are self-employed, work from home and are in the creative, knowledge-based sectors which need high-speed broadband and will provide the driving force for the county’s digital economy.”
BT will begin survey work in the autumn and the first upgrade locations are set to be announced next year, despite the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) claiming that each contract signed under BDUK has a list of postcode data associated with it.
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