BT’s hold over the rural broadband market is gaining strength after it signed a multi-million pound deal to bring its services to remote areas of Berkshire that will give a considerable boost to rural commerce.
The £8.06 million deal means 18,000 premises in cut-off parts of the county will be able to receive faster broadband and it opens up new opportunities to many business that would otherwise not be able to access a faster connection.
“By September 2015, thousands more Berkshire homes and businesses will have access to superfast speeds, and all the benefits that it offers,” said communications minister Ed Vaizey, according to V3.co.uk. “The UK already does more business online than any other European country and widespread access to superfast speeds will provide a welcome boost to Berkshire’s economy.”
The deal is structured so that BT put up £4 million of the final total with £2.03 million coming from the Broadband Delivery UK [BDUK] framework and the remaining £2.03 million being provided by Berkshire council in order to provide what is seen as a vital necessity.
“For many people living and working in rural areas, this is an important day. It gives them confidence that more 21st-century technology is within reach and that they will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of faster access to the Internet,” said councillor David Burbage.
The latest deal means that BT will end up receiving some £1.2 billion worth of funding from central government and councils in order to provide high-speed fibre-optic broadband to rural areas of the country.
A report from the National Audit Office stated that councils and the government would “struggle” to keep track of the costs BT was levying to build rural broadband networks and the lack of competition is another factor that many have been critical of.