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Saturday, 12 July 2014

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BT wins £40m Cumbria superfast broadband deal

BT has won a £40m contract to roll-out superfast broadband across Cumbria.

The county council agreed the deal today, ending a bidding process that began in October 2010 when Cumbria was chosen for a Government subsidy to bring broadband to rural areas.

BT was the only remaining contender after rival Fujitsu pulled out this summer.

In June councillors rejected bids from BT and Fujitsu, saying that neither matched their ambition to deliver broadband speeds of 25Mbps by 2015 to 90 per cent of Cumbrian homes and businesses.

Since then the council has been locked in negotiations with BT to thrash out an acceptable agreement.

Councillor Liz Mallinson, the cabinet member responsible, said the Connecting Cumbria programme would bring “significant long-term benefits”.

She added: “This contract will provide essential infrastructure that will help the project deliver superfast broadband across rural and urban Cumbria to residents and businesses alike.”

The council has so far secured £23m of grant funding – including £17.1m from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK project – and hopes to land £15.4m of European money.

In addition, it says, BT is investing £30m.

The aim is that 93 per cent of the county has access to superfast broadband by the end of 2015.

The cabinet’s decision to give the contract to BT Global Services could still challenged.

It is subject to a 10-day call in period under the council’s rules and there are still details to finalise before Ministers give their seal of approval.

The council should know by November if the deal complies with European state-aid legislation.


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