Monday, 25 March 2013
Hampshire Residents All but Guaranteed Access to Fibre
Residents and business in Hampshire, England have plenty to be pleased about now that BT has signed a deal securing an additional £13.8 million of combined funding from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and other sources; funding that will all but guarantee almost everyone has access to super-fast fibre broadband. Those who don't have access to fibre will still enjoy speeds of at least 2 Mbps with their service.
The new round of funding is just the latest BT has been able to secure in their push to bring super-fast broadband to the Hampshire area. It comes by way of agreement with the Hampshire County Council (HCC). According to officials with the HCC, their involvement was critical in securing the funding. They claim that, without their action, more than 20% of the county's homes would not have had optical fibre access; with the funding, that number is reduced to roughly 10%.
As the package currently stands both the BDUK and HCC will provide £5 million each while BT will make up the £3.8 million difference. The Hampshire County funding will be a joint effort between the Council and its district and boroughs. All of the partners agreed together that the necessity of bringing super-fast broadband to the area was critical both economically and culturally.
With the funding secured, BT will now start working on putting together necessary infrastructure for residential and commercial networking. If all goes as planned, the project should be complete sometime in 2015. Among some of the earliest to get the new service will be a handful of the 24 economic development zones set up to spur local economic growth. One example is the Solent Enterprise Zone in Daedalus. Currently there are some 19,000 homes and businesses signed up to be part of the fast program; more are expected to follow in the near future.
The news from Hampshire County is welcome but not necessarily unexpected. Both the industry and government partners have been pressing hard to bring super-fast technology to the area for quite a while. What's more, England leads the way in Europe in implementing optical fibre networks, most notably in and around the Greater London area.
In a nutshell, optical fibre is all coming together across England much to the delight of both service providers and their customers. As more communities are getting connected, England is becoming the place to be in the UK for IT technology.
How long it takes the rest of Europe to catch up is something that remains to be seen. Nevertheless, this is a golden opportunity for data centre companies and service providers to set the agenda that will guide the industry for at least the next decade. It is also a great opportunity for English companies to establish themselves as the premier provider of fibre infrastructure and networks. In so doing they will be poised to grab a larger share of the European market as fibre technology expands.