Feeds

Two more counties to get gov-funded bumpkin broadband from... guess?

Clue: It starts with a B and sorta rhymes with graffiti

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

BT won two more government-subsidised contracts to rollout rural broadband on Monday when it scooped up deals in Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.

The telco giant will spend £11m in Oxfordshire installing fibre-to-the-cabinet technology; the local council will cough up £10m and a further £4m will come from the state. The work will bring download speeds of at least 24Mbit/s to 64,000 homes and businesses, and is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Over in Worcestershire, BT is splurging £8.9m - more than matching the county council's £8.5m investment - on faster broadband access in the area, and once again mostly feeding high-speed fibre to street-side cabinets (the rest of the connection is telephone wire). A further £3.35m will be lifted from the government's coffers.

BT said the extra money from the state and local authority will build on the company's "on-going commercial fibre rollout which will reach more than 176,000 premises across [Worcestershire] by the end of spring 2014".

The one-time national telco is the only company still bidding for any of the taxpayer-funded £530m Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) pot, set aside to subsidise the rollout of fast internet access to the countryside.

Fujitsu pulled out of the race for the money earlier this year after complaining of restrictive "conditions" around the process. The Japanese tech giant's exit fuelled anger among critics of BT, who claimed that the entire BDUK project was farcical because it blocked out rivals.

More recently, the government's spending watchdog separately warned that the process was running two years behind schedule, while at the same time failing to demonstrate good value for money for Britain's taxpayers.

BT has since been forced to defend the reasons behind what MPs characterised as climbdown from its promise to throw loads of its own money at the govt-subsidised project. The National Audit Office said BT was in fact likely to contribute £356m - far short of the "further £1bn" the telcoms giant had earmarked for investment.

The company claimed to have been misunderstood, however. Its policy wonk Sean Williams told Parliament's Public Accounts Committee last month that that ten-figure promise did not just refer to capital expenditure on the actual broadband network hardware, but also its own operational costs in the meantime.

BT is now saying it will sling about £700m, which includes capital investment and labour cost, at the BDUK project - which now aims to bring faster broadband speeds to around 95 per cent of Blighty by 2017. ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.