Lancashire Secures £62.5m Super-Fast Broadband Upgrade

Lancashire is to receive the benefit of funding from the government's broadband coffers, with a full-scale £62.5 million super-fast upgrade programme approved.

The roll out will ensure the less commercially viable areas of Lancashire are covered, with no less than 97 per cent of the county now set for access to speeds of 80Mbps and up to 300Mbps in certain areas. It will, in short, become one hugely well connected county, although it isn't just the government's cash at work here.

BT is set to invest half of the money, £30 million, and the EU and local funding is also supplementing the government's investment. Still, the net effect is going to be quite a super-charging of Lancashire's connectivity by the time the project is completed in 2014.

It's good news on the employment front as well, with 2,500 jobs being created, and BT claiming the scheme will protect some 1,200 jobs over the next couple of years.

According to Ofcom, 15 per cent of Lancashire is currently shackled to broadband connections of less than 2Mbps. BT reckons that will be reduced to virtually zero come 2014, with only a few unlucky punters left crawling in the super-highway slow lane.

Edwin Booth, Chairman of Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, commented: "This is incredibly important for the success of the Lancashire economy. The project will transform the broadband landscape across the county and ensure that local businesses can become global businesses. It will ensure that firms remain here and it will also attract a more diverse range of high growth, high value companies to the county."

Bill Murphy, managing director NGA, BT, added: "It's great to see Lancashire be first out of the BDUK starting blocks in this regional race for speed. 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."

Source: The Telegraph