The launch of the Digital Rutland 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.
Roger Begy (RCC), Bill Murphy (BT) and Helen Briggs (RCC)
View full photo gallery of launch event (Flickr - external link)
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.”
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 (a further 7% will be enabled using funding from Rutland County Council).
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.
Oakham in Bloom
You can find out more about how Oakham in Bloom constructed a Digital Rutland flower bed by visiting their website.
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.
Find out more by reading out business case studies from a number of local firms.