Boost to MK’s bid for superfast broadband

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A project to improve broadband speeds around the borough has been given an extra boost after Milton Keynes Council signed a new contract with BT Openreach, which secures £2.6m of extra funding.

BT Openreach is already upgrading its existing network across Milton Keynes as part of a nationwide commercial rollout.

This will deliver ‘superfast’ broadband infrastructure to the majority of homes and businesses, and more than 75 per cent currently have access to superfast broadband in Milton Keynes – the highest level in the UK outside of central London.

However, this commercial rollout will not reach every property in the borough, including some in rural areas.

Milton Keynes Council’s goal is for 95 per cent of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband, 24Mbps or above, by late 2016 and 100 per cent to access a speed of at least 2Mbps. The council is investing an additional £2.4m of its own money to make this happen.

In addition, in 2011, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedford Borough Council and Milton Keynes Council formed a partnership which successfully bid for a share of the £530m government fund into ‘non commercial’ broadband improvement.

The three councils have chosen BT Openreach to work on the next phase of the joint broadband infrastructure programme following an extensive procurement process.

BT Openreach will make its £2.66m investment in addition to the funding from government and each local authority.

Councillor David Hopkins, Milton Keynes Council Cabinet Member responsible for Economic Development, said: “Today’s contract signing is another vital step towards achieving our ambitious goal for local broadband coverage.

“Good broadband helps economic growth, and businesses and residents have told us that building a better and faster broadband service should be a priority.

“By signing this new contract, we’re well on the way to making superfast broadband a reality for many more.”