Newcastle City Council has signed a deal worth £3.8m with BT to roll out superfast broadband services around Newcastle upon Tyne.
The deal will mean that 97 percent of homes and businesses in the region can access superfast services of at least 24Mbps by the end of summer 2015. Options for the final third of the area are also being explored by the city and BT.
The deal is made up of funding from BT of £1.89m, £970,000 from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework and the same amount from the city council.
Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said the rollout would help the city maintain its competitive advantage by providing high-quality internet connections for firms in the area.
“High-speed reliable broadband access is an essential modern-day business tool, and we are determined that we will have the best connectivity of any European city to make Newcastle a natural home for businesses to grow in the future,” he said.
The announcement was also welcomed by communications minister Ed Vaizey: “Newcastle upon Tyne is witnessing a broadband revolution that will see thousands of homes and businesses across the region gain access to superfast broadband speeds in 2015,” he said.
The deal is just the latest of many announced by BT, with Bedfordshire, Essex and Nottinghamshire also signing deals with the telecoms firm, which has scooped up all but one of the contracts on offer so far.
Despite the progress made in signing these deals and rolling out high-speed services BT and the government have faced criticism from industry and MPs for the way the contracts have been handled.
This has led to some colourful accusations being levelled at BT, which has responded by allowing councils to reveal their rollout locations for broadband services, having previously stopped such information being public.
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