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Thousands more Bedfordshire homes to get access to fibre broadband

Friday, May 29th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

Another 8,000 homes and businesses in Bedfordshire will benefit from the second phase of the county's superfast broadband rollout.

A new contract worth more than £4m has been signed with BT as part of the Central Superfast programme, a partnership between Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes and Luton Borough councils, BT and the government’s BDUK programme.

The project, combined with the commercial rollout of superfast broadband, aims to bring fibre within reach of 96.5% of the area’s homes and businesses by 2019.

The project’s second phase will build on progress already made by its first part, which is enabling more than 15,500 homes and businesses to access superfast speeds.

It also follows BT’s commercial fibre rollout, which has already reached more than 195,000 premises in the county.

Digital minister Ed Vaizey said the latest contract is “fantastic news” for Central Bedfordshire.

He said: “Huge progress has already been made in the first part of our rollout of superfast broadband and today’s news means that even more homes and business can look forward to a much faster and more reliable internet connection.”

'Hard work'

Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for next generation access, added: “Hard work and commitment to this project has secured further investment which will make fibre broadband available to thousands more homes and businesses.

“The most important aim is to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from fibre broadband and in as quick a timeframe as possible so this is great news for both businesses and households across the county.”

The latest investment includes £2.05m from Central Bedfordshire Council and £2.04m from the DCMS Superfast Extension Programme (SEP), as well as futher funding from BT.

Councillor Richard Wenham, executive member for corporate resources at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Giving 8,000 more properties access to faster broadband is a great boost to homes and businesses in Central Bedfordshire and another significant achievement from the Central Superfast programme.”

The government has set a target of bringing superfast broadband, defined as speeds of 24Mbps and above, to 90% of the UK by 2016, with its superfast extension programme extending coverage to 95% by the end of 2017.

Earlier this month, Cable.co.uk reported how the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme had so far made superfast broadband available to around 6,000 homes and businesses for every £1m spent.

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