Staffordshire residents are set to benefit from a new project aimed at rolling out fibre-based broadband services, with BT having announced that it has inked a multi-million pound partnership with the county council. The Staffordshire Broadband project, which is led by the Staffordshire County Council and supported by the Stoke-on-Trent City Council and the Local Enterprise Partnerships, has signed a deal with the fixed line incumbent under which BT will deploy fibre broadband across the country by Spring 2016. The telco has confirmed that the partnership will build on commercial rollouts which are already underway across the county, and noted that the once work is completed more than 472,000 premises, or around 97% in Staffordshire, will have access to fibre broadband services. Alongside the fibre rollout, BT has revealed that the small percentage of premises that will not be connected to the new infrastructure will see some speed improvements, as the project also aims to deliver a minimum of 2Mbps downlink speeds to all homes and businesses in the region. In terms of investment, Staffordshire County Council will spend GBP7.44 million (USD11.21 million) on the venture, while a further GBP7.44 million will come from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework, and for its part, BT will invest GBP12.47 million in the network deployment.
Commenting on the plans, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for economy and infrastructure, Mark Winnington, was cited as saying: ‘Today’s contract signing with BT marks perhaps the most significant milestone in the project so far – meaning work to improve essential superfast broadband access to the Staffordshire people can now begin … While it will take a number of years to roll out across the county, work will start straight away and means that the first communities in Staffordshire will be enjoying high-speed broadband from early 2014 as a direct result of our partnership.’