Cambridgeshire signs super broadband deal

March 21, 2013

Businesses and communities will have some of the best fibre broadband coverage in the country by the end of 2015 following the signing of a major contract with BT by Cambridgeshire County Council.

The contract will build on the existing commercial fibre broadband network in the area meaning that many more homes and businesses will be able to get superfast broadband and no community will be left without better broadband access when the roll-out is complete.

The new broadband infrastructure will contribute towards Connecting Cambridgeshire programme targets so that superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps are available to more than 90 per cent of premises and a minimum of 2Mbps to virtually all premises over the next three years.

Combined with existing commercial broadband provision, completion of the roll-out under the contract will mean that 98 per cent of homes and businesses across the county can expect to have access to fibre-based broadband by the end of 2015.

Without the intervention of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme around a third of premises would not have been able to access faster broadband services.

Investing for future economic growth

BT was chosen by the Council following a competitive selection process. The company will contribute £16 million to the £45 million project with the rest of the investment coming from Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council and Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Cambridgeshire already has some of the most innovative businesses in the world and investment in better broadband is vital to drive future economic growth. It is anticipated that the roll-out of the new broadband infrastructure across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will bring an additional £500 million to the local economy in the five years following completion. This means that every £1 invested will bring a return of £11 to the local economy. It will also help to develop new and more cost-effective approaches to the delivery of public services.

Strong support

Cambridgeshire County Council has worked with Peterborough City Council, District councils, and partners in business, education and health to lead the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme.

Getting a good deal was helped by more than 24,000 households and businesses registering for the Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign – making it the most effective in the country – and the fantastic support of over 100 broadband champions.

The competitive process to get the best broadband deal for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been successfully completed with the support and advice of BDUK, which has allocated £6.75 million of Government funding to the project.

Roll-out process

Work on the project will start immediately with the first locations expected to get fibre later this year. The three-year roll-out will begin with a period of planning and detailed surveying, before Openreach, BT’s local network business, starts work on the ground.

The large-scale project will involve enabling over 100 telephone exchanges serving many more street cabinets. The Connecting Cambridgeshire team will be working closely with BT, neighbouring authorities, local authority planning teams, broadband champions and local communities to ensure the roll-out is as speedy and efficient as possible.

The scale of the county-wide roll-out will mean some areas will be connected sooner than others, but by starting work now everyone will benefit from better broadband by the end of 2015.

BT’s network will be open to all communications providers on an equal wholesale basis and so Cambridgeshire and Peterborough 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 main technology deployed. This delivers wholesale downstream speeds of up to 80Mbps and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps.

When, where, who?

We know you will want to know when your area will be connected. We can’t answer that now but what we can say is that the roll-out will be carefully planned in phases in the most cost-effective way to make the best use of public money.

The scale of the county-wide roll-out will mean some areas will be connected sooner than others, but by starting work now everyone will benefit from better broadband by the end of 2015.

Benefits

Better broadband will build upon the business and enterprise success of the region, helping to create local jobs and prosperity for the long term.  It will help communities to thrive and make public services more accessible for residents, particularly elderly and vulnerable people, and more cost-effective for taxpayers

The fibre-based network will allow businesses to introduce many new services and applications. Big business applications driven by cloud services and data centres will now be within the reach of firms of all sizes. Computer back-up, storage and processing will be faster, and the use of high quality videoconferencing by firms and their customers will be possible, which can also help to reduce transport demand.

The new technology will also transform the way people use the internet in the home – enabling them to run multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time, speeding up the simple sharing of pictures and video and enjoying the growing boom in entertainment services available online.

 Thank you

Connecting Cambridgeshire would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this success by registering and campaigning – particularly our Broadband Champions, together with MPs, local Members, community groups and business organisations.

Regular updates and FAQs will be posted on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website and the project team can be contacted by email at contact@connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk