BT has won further rural broadband contracts in Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.
Oxfordshire County Council is paying BT £10 million to start a two-and-a half-year programme to bring better broadband to thousands more homes and businesses in the county.
The government is also putting in £4 million to fund the scheme, as part of the £500 million-plus it is spending on its rural broadband programme UK-wide.
The aim in Oxfordshire is to give at least 90 percent of premises fibre broadband speeds of 24mbps and above by the end of 2015.
Councillor Nick Carter, Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for business and customer services, said: “Broadband is now seen almost as a utility like water or electricity, yet there are still areas where access is non-existent or far too slow. However, everyone in the project area will soon benefit from this major investment."
The Better Broadband for Oxfordshire programme will make fibre broadband available to more than 64,000 homes and businesses across the county by its completion.
With the other contract, Worcestershire County Council is paying BT up to £8.5 million, with an additional £3.35 million coming from the government to help make sure at least 90 percent of the county's premises can get fibre broadband.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, Worcestershire County Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for economy, skills and infrastructure, said: “This investment is vital to our county’s future economy, as increased broadband speeds will support and boost the competitiveness of our local businesses, keep skills and job prospects local and provide yet another reason for businesses to come to Worcestershire."
Last month the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee slammed the rural broadband programme, claiming BT was not being clear enough about the charges it was levying councils to deliver it.