Newcastle City Council has joined forces with BT in a £3.8 million deal to extend the availability of high-speed fibre broadband to 97 per cent of homes and businesses in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Go Digital programme will build on BT’s commercial investment of £2.5 billion to roll fibre broadband out to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of Spring 2014. This investment has already brought fibre broadband to parts of central Newcastle, West Newcastle, Gosforth, Jesmond, Lemington and Wideopen with Denton Burn and Kenton set to follow by the end of Spring 2014.
BT was awarded the contract following a procurement exercise through the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework. The company is contributing £1.89 million towards fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas with Newcastle City Council investing £970,000 plus its £970,000 share of BDUK funds.
Ed Vaizey, Communications Minister, said: “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. The UK already does more business online than any other European country, and widespread access to superfast broadband will provide a tremendous boost to the local economy.”
BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so consumers and businesses will benefit from a highly competitive market. This was an important stipulation in the tender process. More than 80 service providers across the UK are currently trialling or offering fibre broadband over BT’s network.
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for Next Generation Access, added: “This project aims to make faster and more reliable broadband available to everyone in Newcastle, making the city one of the best connected in the UK. Not only that, it will have among the fastest broadband speeds of any major city in Europe, helping businesses reach new markets and products and compete on both a national and international scale.”
“It is also great news for residents who will be able to access new job opportunities, and shop around for cheaper services. Fibre is transforming the way we use the internet at home, from communicating with family and friends to entertainment, shopping and online gaming.”
Fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) will be the main technology deployed which delivers wholesale downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps.
Openreach has also started to make fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology, where the fibre runs all the way to the home or business, commercially available on demand in certain areas where fibre broadband has been deployed, and plans to expand access in due course. FTTP-on-demand offers the top current download speed of 330Mbps.
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