BT has won yet another superfast broadband deal, this time in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, in which the vast majority of the region will be hooked to speeds of at least 24Mbps.
The £27.35m deal will see 472,000 premises – around 97 percent of the region – receive the high-speed service. The councils involved are investing £7.44 million, while £7.44 million will come from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework and £12.47 million from BT.
The councils hope that the rollout will boost business output in the region, as Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, Mark Winnington, explained.
“This infrastructure is as important as road or rail in providing the accessibility and opportunities for our residents and businesses. It will ensure we can compete with other areas of the UK and Europe. That is why we took the crucial decision to invest £7.44m,” he said.
Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Next Generation Access, added: “Staffordshire led the way in pioneering creative industries, so it is now fitting that the county is spearheading this dynamic partnership.”
The announcement was welcomed by communications minister, Ed Vaizey, who said it underlined the clear demand for good high-speed broadband around the UK that the government was funding.
“Today’s signing is fantastic news for the people and businesses of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, and will help deliver all the benefits of superfast broadband. The UK already does more business online than any other European country, and this project will provide a tremendous boost to the local economy,” he said.
The announcement comes as the government touts passing the halfway stage in the rollout of broadband around the UK with numerous projects underway or now signed off. Despite these claims, some have criticised the government for massaging the numbers and that in reality the UK is moving slowly and broadband speeds are still too slow.
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