Contracts Signed for Faster Broadband
Fast, affordable fibre broadband is set to become available to at least 90 per cent of Rutland by the end of 2013 under the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme – as a result of a £3m project between Rutland County Council and BT.
Rutland County Council can also reveal that we are intending to roll out fibre to a further seven per cent of the county within the same timescale, using additional sources of funding.
The launch of the project, which will provide England’s most rural county with some of the fastest available broadband speeds anywhere in the UK, was celebrated with a contract signing ceremony at Rutland’s historic Oakham Castle.
Openreach, BT’s local network division, will deploy the fibre network which will enable a range of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to offer speeds of up to 80Mbps to over 90 per cent of the county’s 17,000 homes and businesses by the end of 2013. In addition, speeds of up to 300Mbps will also be available to all premises in the footprint on an “on demand” basis – ensuring that local businesses can access ultrafast speeds should they wish to.
Homes and businesses that are harder to reach with a fixed fibre line in the remaining ten per cent will be connected using alternative broadband technologies.
Areas known as ‘not spots’ (those receiving a connection of less than 2Mbps) will also be addressed with Rutland County Council aiming to have all areas receiving a minimum of 2Mbps by the end of 2013.
BT was chosen by the Council following an extensive and thorough selection process. The company will contribute £800k to the project with £2.2m coming from Rutland County Council, including £710k from BDUK.
Only a few premises in Rutland can be reached by fibre broadband as part of BT’s current commercial rollout plans – currently served from Stamford exchange in neighbouring Lincolnshire. However, the project will enable the company to cover a vast majority of areas with its fibre broadband network that are not viable on a commercial basis alone.
BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Rutland consumers and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market, in turn bringing greater choice and affordable prices.
Fibre to the Cabinet will be the prevalent technology deployed under the project.
This will deliver downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps. The average downstream speed in Rutland is currently around 6Mbps.
Fibre to the Premise technology – delivering ultra-fast speeds of up to 300Mbps – will also be deployed in certain areas and will be available on demand throughout the whole of the fibre footprint should local businesses want the ultra-fast speed it offers.
For local businesses, the fibre broadband network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications. Users will be able to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and receive large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. Computer processing and storage of files will also become more sophisticated and secure using “cloud computing” technology. There will be faster back up of computer systems and wider use of high quality videoconferencing within firms and between them and their customers.
Deputy Leader for Rutland County Council, Councillor Terry King, said:
“Rutland is a sparse rural area and getting high-speed affordable fibre broadband to 97% of the county will make a huge difference to the long-term prospects of the area and quality of life for all.
“Broadband coverage in Rutland is poor and in some areas very poor, which is why we need a solution like this for the whole county addressing ‘not spots’ and areas the market will not penetrate. This will provide benefits for the wider community such as developing education through e-technology and giving residents access to new models of care and social interaction.”
Bill Murphy, Managing Director, NGA from BT Group added:
“Today Rutland becomes known as “Digital Rutland”. This project will place Rutland on the UK broadband map and we are delighted to work with Rutland County Council to make it happen.
“BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Rutland consumers and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market – where people aren’t stuck with one broadband provider and can choose the package and price that suits them.”