A £34 million project to bring superfast broadband to Northamptonshire has been rubberstamped by councillors.
Telecoms giant BT has been chosen to roll out the Northamptonshire Project, which aims to provide access to superfast broadband to almost 81,100 premises across the county by 2017.
There will be a particular focus on rural areas of the county, many of which suffer from slow speeds at present.
A meeting of Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet today approved the appointment of BT to deliver the project, and an announcement on where it will be rolled out to will be made in March.
Superfast broadband is defined as a line speed of at least 24 megabits per second (Mbps), using fibre optic technology.
A report on the project states that Northamptonshire is predominantly served by copper-based broadband infrastructure at present, which can be slow and unreliable.
Councillor Andre Gonzalez de Savage, (Con, East Hunsbury), cabinet member for infrastructure, said: “This is where Northamptonshire really takes off in terms of superfast broadband. Overall, BT’s offer meets our core targets and in some areas exceeds them.
“Clearly there are hurdles to overcome. BT is clearly aware of the infrastructure requirements of the county.
“It is a £34 million project in total and we want it on board as soon as possible.
“We are looking to sign the contract in March, and at that point we can broadcast the news about which communities will get it.”
Councillor Chris Stanbra, (Lib Dem, Danesholme) said: “This is an important project for Northamptonshire, and probably the single most important thing the council can do for the rural community.”
The project targets are that by March 2014 at least 2,000 business premises in the intervention area will have access to superfast broadband, and by March 2015 at least nine out of ten premises will have access to it.
By March 2017, all premises should have access to superfast broadband with line speeds of at least 30Mbps.
For more information visit the project website.