Leicestershire County Council signs £16.9 million rural broadband deal

Leicestershire County Council has signed a deal worth £16.9 million with BT to bring high-speed fibre broadband to rural areas in the county.

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Leicestershire County Council has signed a deal worth £16.9 million with BT to bring high-speed fibre broadband to rural areas in the county.

The council says the government-subsidised deal will enable 95 percent of homes and businesses in Leicestershire, including the city of Leicester, to "access high speed broadband within three years".

The county council is investing £4 million as part of the deal, with £3.3 million coming from the government and £1.2 million being received from the European Union. BT is contributing a further £8.3 million.

Further investment of £90,000 is being made to ensure a "basic broadband service" to all premises in the city of Leicester.

It is expected that the first new connections will go live in the summer of 2014 and that the rollout will take two years to complete. In total more than 56,000 premises within Leicestershire will have access to fibre broadband though the BT deal.

That equates to over £300 to hook up every new broadband connection in Leicestershire, with the cost equally split between the council and BT. Users will then pay BT or another ISP to use the wholesale broadband service.

"The council will work closely with BT on the detailed implementation planning and will provide more detailed information regarding the communities that will benefit in the new year," said the council.

Last month the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee 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.