An "absolutely amazed" BT welcomed UK Home Secretary Jack Straw's commitment to provide £50 million in additional funding for the new police digital radio system, being designed by the telco.
BT also denied that news of the extra money had allowed it to make last minute changes to its final price offer for the system, which was completed lunchtime today.
Speaking just minutes after the offer document was completed for dispatch, BT program director Jeff Parris, said he was "absolutely amazed" by the timing of the announcement. He said he was "very pleased with such a warm and positive statement" from Jack Straw.
Tight police budgets had threatened to derail the project - a replacement for the 50 year old analogue walkie-talkies - because the new system will increase police networking costs by up to three fold.
Parris added that he had not heard about the extra cash until this afternoon and in any event that it "made no difference" to their final bid.
BT's offer price will be, Parris said, in the range of the, "original tender guidelines of £1.5 to £2 billion" over a contract life of 15 years.
In that context £50 million - if made available in the first year - will help the police fund initial costs, improving BT's business case and, Parris said, help BT reduce prices in the long term. Yesterday Jack Straw said he would make available an extra £50 million in funding for the project following appeals from senior police representatives. (see earlier story)
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