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Friday, 28 August 2015

BT awarded £40m Cumbria broadband contract

Cumbria county council has today awarded the contract to supply superfast broadband across the county to BT.

The decision brings to an end 22 months of deliberation and negotiation over how best to supply broadband and use a Government subsidy awarded in October 2010. In June the council rejected bids by BT and Fujitsu for the £40m contract and asked them to do more to meet Cumbria's ambition to have superfast access for all.

Today, the council's cabinet received a report that provided the detail of BT’s revised submission. Questions had been asked about the whether the council could really extract a better deal when only one bidder was left in the process, but councillors and officers were clearly satisfied enough to give the mammoth project the green light.

Commenting on the decision Cllr Elizabeth Mallinson, Cabinet member with lead for the Connecting Cumbria project said: “I am delighted that today we have made a decision that will bring about such significant benefits for our county. Securing a supplier of the calibre of BT will help ensure that the Connecting Cumbria programme delivers significant long term benefits for businesses, communities and the people of Cumbria.

"This contract will provide essential infrastructure that will help the project deliver Superfast Broadband across rural and urban Cumbria to residents and businesses alike It is important to say that today’s decision would not have been possible without the hard work and efforts of all of the partners and communities who are involved with this project.”

Stewart Young, Deputy Leader of Cumbria County Council and Cabinet member with responsibility for procurement, said: “Being a national pilot means this has been a long, complex and challenging process but the time and resources invested means we are now in a position to make a well informed decision that will drive out maximum benefits for our county and ensure we provide the very best broadband services to Cumbria..”

The Connecting Cumbria project is now on track to deliver over £70m of external investment into Cumbria. £23 million has already been secured as a result of successful grants including £17.1m from the government agency Broadband Delivery UK and the project is still awaiting confirmation on a further bid of £15.4 from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

On top of this a further £30m of new and additional investment into the county by BT has been secured as a direct result of the Connecting Cumbria initiative. This will ensure over 93 per cent of the county has access to superfast broadband by the end of 2015.

The decision is subject to a 10 day call in period under the council’s constitutional rules and a similar period required by European procurement legislation.. It is also subject to some work to finalise some remaining details in the contract terms and the approval of State Aid. The council hopes to have a decision from Europe on state aid by November 2012 and will now start work with BT on planning a timetable for roll-out.

In a statement a spokesman for BT said: "We are pleased to have been selected as the preferred bidder for this project, which promises to deliver a range of exciting new services to the county including the delivery of fibre broadband to those areas outside our planned commercial footprint. We will be working closely with Cumbria County Council to complete the required activities necessary for contract signature over the coming weeks."


Have your say

FTTC may not be fibre into your home hub but for many it will reduce the length of the copper to being almost insignificant. I doubt many home users and small busineses would find the cost of FTTP justifiable in comparison.

Posted by Roy on 14 March 2013 at 11:47

This is great news for cumbria. I do agree with Chris, and everyone else, that anything less than 100% FTTP is less than ideal, but it's what we can afford. FTTC is a step towards FTTP and will ensure that there is fibre to the communities, so altnets and community groups can do their own thing if they what to. The detail we want to hear is confirmation of the wholesale services available from these cabinets and the price, that's the next test.

I dont agree with Chris that this is Project Access all over again. Project Access did the job of providing first generation access very well indeed and resulted in the hightest business internet adoption in the UK. With hindset we should have fought the restictions placed on us, for speed and capacity,by HMT and State Aid, but everyone considered 2Mbps to be an outrageously high speed back then.

Since I submitted the application for BDUK funds for Cumbria over two years ago and the county gained its award, it has been a struggle, for all of us. We all deserve a sip of the bubbly tonight.

Well done all of us....

Posted by Richard Walters on 14 September 2012 at 16:13

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