Lancashire picks BT for Government-funded broadband push

network port

Lancashire is on course to become the first UK county to take advantage of a Government-funded broadband scheme.

The county has clinched 10.8 million in funding from the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, which will support the supply of fibre optic networking to its residents.

BDUK was set up to bankroll the deployment of superfast broadband to a third of the UK using 530 million of the Government's money.

Lancashire County Council (LCC) has secured a total of 62.5 million to finance its broadband rollout and has chosen telco BT to oversee it.

BT is stumping up 30 million for the project, which is expected to create around 2,500 jobs in the area.

In addition to BT and BDUK's money, 16.5 million of the project will be paid for by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). A further 5.2 million will be provided by LCC and several other local authorities.

At present, the average download speed in Lancashire is 7Mbps. Once the deployment is complete, it is hoped that around 97 per cent of homes and business in the area will have download speeds of up to 80Mbps.

Bill Murphy, managing director of Next Generation Access at BT, said: "We're looking forward to working with other local authorities and devolved governments to bring the economic benefits of high speed broadband to businesses and communities across the UK."

Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, added: "It is important that as many areas as possible benefit [from the project], and that is why we have ensured that even the more remote areas of the county will see a significant improvement in their speeds."

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.