Bedfordshire councils have signed a £12 million rural fibre broadband deal with BT.
Milton Keynes Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council have signed a government-subsidised deal, which will help 91 percent of local homes and businesses to access faster fibre broadband -when combined with other existing and larger commercial fibre rollouts in the area.
The £12 million deal will provide a fibre broadband infrastructure to around 33,000 premises, of which around 32,000 will have access to "superfast speeds" of at least 24mbps by spring 2016, said the councils.
So that's at a cost of £375 per superfast fibre broadband connection made available. BT and other suppliers will then be paid a monthly fee by homes and businesses to actually access the service thereafter.
According to Ofcom, currently the average broadband speed in Milton Keynes is 10.8mbps, whilst it is 14.1mbps and 13.7mbps in Bedford and Central Bedfordshire respectively.
BT is contributing £6.2 million towards the overall cost of the new fibre deployment in “non-commercial” areas, while Milton Keynes Council is contributing £2.4 million, Central Bedfordshire Council is putting in £1.2 million and Bedford Borough Council £440,000. Another £2 million is coming from the government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds.
Councillor David Hopkins, Milton Keynes Council cabinet member for economic development, said: “Good broadband helps economic growth, and businesses and residents have told us that building a better and faster broadband service should be a priority.
"By signing this new contract, we’re well on the way to making superfast broadband a reality for many more people across the area’s towns and villages.”
The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee recently slammed the government's national rural broadband programme, claiming BT was not being clear enough about the charges it was levying councils to deliver it.