The Connecting Cambridgeshire project, which is currently working with BT to make superfast broadband speeds available to 90% of premises in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (England) by the end of 2015, has signed an extended Broadband Delivery UK contract that should push the coverage up to around 95% by the end of 2017.
As usual the pre-election (purdah) period means that we won’t be getting an official press release from the council about the signing of their Phase 2 BDUK Superfast Extension Programme (SEP) contract, although the development has never the less been confirmed.
At present the existing project (BDUK Phase 1) will bring speeds of 24Mbps+ to 90% of the area by the end of this year. However it’s worth noting that, under the original deal, the reach of BT’s “fibre broadband” network will actually extend to 98% by completion (that 8% difference represents sub-24Mbps speeds).
Once complete it’s anticipated that about 97,000 extra homes and businesses will have gained access to the new connectivity as part of Phase 1 and so far some 67,371 of that total has already been completed, with uptake in related (BDUK upgraded) areas reaching a respectably strong 16.8% (Dec 2014 figure).
Never the less it’s been estimated that a little over 100,000 premises in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are still unable to access “superfast” (24Mbps+) speeds and most of those will be the focus of the new Phase 2 contract, which will receive £1.5m from BDUK. Incidentally BT are also set to conduct a big trial of their ultrafast 500Mbps+ capable G.fast technology in Cambridgeshire (Huntingdon) this summer (here).
Sadly we’ll have to wait until after the General Election in order to get the full details on the latest BDUK contract extension.