Northamptonshire awarded extra £3.64m to extend ‘superfast broadband’ infrastructure

Superfast broadband
Superfast broadband

Northamptonshire County Council has been awarded an additional £3.64 million to extend the provision of superfast broadband infrastructure across the county.

The cash has come from a £250 million pot of money allocated to the government’s Superfast Extension Programme for the UK and will boost the county council’s ambition to roll out superfast broadband to all parts of the county by the end of 2017

The county council has already partnered with BT to extend the roll out to around 90 per cent of the county by 2015, when combined with planned commercial coverage.

This latest announcement along with council funding commitments will be used to extend the roll-out into the final 10 per cent of the county where coverage has yet to be secured.

Cllr Andre Gonzalez De Savage, county council cabinet member for economic growth, strategic infrastructure and public protection, said: “This is tremendous news for the county.

“We’ve already taken huge strides in securing the roll-out of superfast broadband infrastructure and this money will go a long way towards our goal that no one misses out.

“A good broadband network is absolutely essential if Northamptonshire is going to be able to compete in the global economy and the county is one of the front runners nationally in its ambitions and progress being made.

“These days the internet is not just a luxury tool but something we all rely on more and more to provide and access services, for on-line shopping and leisure, and critically for businesses and remote working.”

The money will be matched by a further commitment from the county council and potentially other sources being pursued, with the money then used to help secure further private sector investment via a telecommunications supplier.

This marks the second major wave of the Superfast Northamptonshire project and complements the more innovative solutions being promoted by the county council to maximise commercial investment.

Decisions on the route forward will be taken by the county council at its cabinet meeting in March.

The strategy promotes a ‘fibre first’ approach to the roll out of superfast broadband networks which should be capable of supporting access line speeds of at least 30Mbps.

This latest funding allocation will be focused on areas for which a superfast broadband solution has yet to be confirmed.

This includes parts of the town centres of Northampton, Corby, Kettering and Wellingborough, parts of the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone, a number of business parks/industrial estates and some of the remaining rural and more remote areas in the county.