BT has signed a deal worth £16.9m to bring superfast broadband to remote homes and businesses in Leicestershire. The contract will mean that an additional 80,000 premises will be able to access superfast broadband by spring 2016.
The deal – the latest in a procession of tenders won by BT – will give 95 percent of premises in the region access to superfast broadband, with speeds of at least 24Mbps.
Investment for the project is made up from a number of sources. The local council is stumping up £4.1m while the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) project is contributing £3.3m. European funding is £1.23m while BT is putting in the remaining £8.3m.
Leicestershire Council cabinet member for economic development, Blake Pain, said the deal would be a huge boost to the region’s growth
“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,” he said.
“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.”
Communications minister Ed Vaizey welcomed the deal as another example of the desire for superfast broadband that the government's funding is helping to meet. “Thousands more of Leicestershire’s homes and businesses will be able to access high-speed broadband as a result of this project, which will see a remarkable transformation of broadband throughout the county," he said.
"The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to high speeds will provide a welcome boost to the local economy.”
The deal comes as part of a long line of contracts won by BT – with Essex and Nottingham recently signing agreements worth £25m and £20m respectively – which will see the firm bring superfast broadband to the majority of premises in the counties.
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