BT’s procession of local broadband contract wins continued on Friday with the announcement of a £24m deal with eight authorities across County Durham, Gateshead, Sunderland and the Tees Valley.
The contract will see BT rollout broadband connections to 94 percent of all premises by 2016 with a minimum of 2Mbit/s for all, although most will likely be on faster speeds.
BT is already planned fibre rollouts in the region to around two-thirds of homes and confirmed most of the connections for the rest of the region will be fibre to the cabinet technology that can deliver download speeds of 80Mbit/s. Some areas will receive connections to the premise, offering 330Mbit/s speeds.
The deal will be formed of funding from BT of £5.9m, £7.8m from Durham County Council and Gateshead, £9.1m from the Broadband Delivery UK organisation and £1.3m from public sector partners in Sunderland and Tees Valley. The region hopes the rollout will bring numerous economic benefits by boosting local businesses and creating jobs.
“Breaking down the broadband divide will give our residents, communities and businesses opportunities that they’ve only been able to imagine up till now,” said Don McLure, Durham County Council’s corporate director of resources,
“Fibre and improved broadband will help us to strengthen our economy, grow and develop our businesses while enhancing community activities. This is an important milestone for all who live and work in this area."
The network will be built by Openreach, allowing any rival internet service provider to offer services. On Thursday Ofcom confirmed BT had opened up nine million lines through Openreach since 2005, claiming this had enabled 80 ISPs to offer broadband services.
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