British fixed line incumbent BT has announced that it will roll out fibre-based broadband services to around 96% of premises in Cheshire, after it secured funding from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the umbrella support scheme for investments in next generation access (NGA) broadband networks. The telco has revealed that the network deployment will take place over a three-year period, with the GBP28.5 million (USD43.3 million) project to be undertaken in partnership with four Cheshire councils. It noted that the Connecting Cheshire Partnership had secured funding to provide additional rural broadband infrastructure to over 80,000 premises with a view to building on BT’s ongoing commercial investment across the county. As a result, the telco claims that more than 400,000 premises across Cheshire, Halton and Warrington will have access to broadband speeds of up to 80Mbps by the end of 2016.
BT was awarded the contract following a procurement exercise through the BDUK framework, and it has said it will contribute GBP9 million towards fibre deployment in ‘non-commercial’ areas, whilst the Connecting Cheshire Partnership will contribute GBP1.85 million; a further GBP4 million will come from BDUK funds, while GBP13.6 million will be provided from European Regional Development Funds (ERDF).