Following a meeting this week with BT Openreach I am very pleased that the rollout of superfast broadband in Northamptonshire is continuing apace. I am also delighted that the Superfast Northamptonshire partnership with the county council has made fibre broadband available to more than 61,000 homes and businesses. It was welcome news indeed to hear that this progress on the first contract was made three months earlier than originally predicted and delivered under budget!
The investment by BT of around £7 million in superfast broadband across Northamptonshire is vital for the continued economic success of the area, especially small businesses. In the last four years the average broadband speed has doubled from 12.1 Mbps in 2012 to 30.2 Mbps in 2015.
As a result of BT Openreach providing an open-access network, residents will be able to choose their own broadband provider at a price that suits them, while still having superfast fibre broadband.
Due to the tremendous effort of all those involved, the second contract between BT and the county council is already underway. In January Ed Vaizey MP, the Culture Secretary, visited the county to signal the start of the work which will extend superfast broadband availability to an additional 20,450 homes and businesses by December 2017. It is fantastic that this will bring coverage to more than 95 per cent of Northamptonshire at the end of the second contract.
Whilst we have made some significant progress, now is not the time to slow down! Full access is still a ways away, but I am confident that we will reach this goal soon. You can read more about BT's progress in South Northamptonshire here.
To find out whether fibre optic broadband is available in your postcode, visit www.superfastnorthamptonshire.net. As ever, if you have specific broadband concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.