Broadband

Project history

May 2015 - BDUK2 Initial Phasing Maps

With our project partner BT, our superfast broadband project will support 8,000 premises in Central Bedfordshire to receive superfast broadband services (speeds of at least 24 megabits per second.) This means that approximately 96.5% of Central Bedfordshire will be able to receive superfast broadband by 2018 / 19 under this plan.
The following phasing maps indicate our best understanding at this stage of project deployment. This gives our residents and businesses the best currently available information on where and when will receive support under the next part of the project.

As part of this we have also developed a postcode phasing checker (link opens in new window) and Frequently Asked Questions (PDF 67.6KB) , which are on this page.

It is likely that phasing and timings will change as survey work and / or implementation progresses and areas will be brought forward or pushed back as circumstances determine within the overall aim of delivering the maximum coverage with the resources available.

We will try to bring these timescales forward and additional funding is being sought with the aim of extending coverage further.

This Project is in partnership with Broadband Delivery UK (link opens in new window), BT (link opens in new window), Milton Keynes Council, Luton and Bedford Borough Council.

May 2015 multi-million pound broadband boost for 8,000 Central Bedfordshire homes and businesses

A further 8,000 homes and businesses across Central Bedfordshire are set to get superfast fibre broadband after a new contract worth more than £4million was signed with BT.

It is the second multi-million pound contract penned by the Central Superfast programme, a partnership between the telecoms giant, Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes and Luton Borough Councils and the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme.

This latest investment involves £2.05million from Central Bedfordshire Council and a further £2.04million from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Superfast Extension Programme (SEP), together with further funding from BT.

The new deal builds on the first phase of the Superfast Central project and the private sector’s commercial rollout of the technology, helping Central Bedfordshire achieve its aim of bringing fibre broadband within reach of 96.5 per cent of the area’s homes and businesses by 2019.

The Central Superfast programme is making a combined investment of £11.2million to deliver phase 2 of the fibre rollout to over 16,500 premises across Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

The second phase of work follows the current phase 1 programme that will enable more than 15,500 homes and businesses to access superfast broadband. It also follows BT’s commercial rollout of fibre broadband, which has already reached more than 195,000 premises in the county as a whole.

Cllr Wenham, said: “Giving 8,000 more properties access to faster broadband is a great boost to homes and businesses in Central Bedfordshire and another significant achievement from the Central Superfast programme.

“Faster internet connections are crucial to helping boost our economy by attracting new businesses to the area and creating new jobs. It will also improve connectivity to residential sections of our community that have been crying out for this technology.

“While this is a great achievement, which will be welcome news to a great many homes and businesses, there will be more that require the same access to superfast broadband and we will strive to extend that coverage as far as possible.”

Digital Economy Minister Ed Vaizey said: "This is fantastic news for Central Bedfordshire. Huge progress has already been made in the first part of our rollout of superfast broadband and today's news means that even more homes and businesses can look forward to a much faster and more reliable internet connection".

Bill Murphy, BT’s Managing Director for Next Generation Access, said: “Hard work and commitment to this project has secured further investment which will make fibre broadband available to thousands more homes and businesses.
“The most important aim is to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit from fibre broadband and in as quick a timeframe as possible so this is great news for both businesses and households across the county.

December 2014 - State Aid Public Consultation (closed)

Following completion of the Open Market Review (OMR), a State Aid Public Consultation document was issued setting out the analysis undertaken with the OMR data and any assumptions made in order to derive the Intervention Area maps. The public consultation provided stakeholders with an opportunity to comment on the proposed Intervention Area (i.e. the eligible area for public investment) and ensured information correctly captured the areas containing commercial plans.

Further to the completion of the public consultation, we received revised information in December 2014. This did not significantly impact the consultation outcome, however please find revised maps below.

In its recent public consultation on a Superfast Extension Programme for broadband provision, the Central Superfast partnership informed stakeholders that it intended to conduct a further procurement exercise to deliver extended coverage of superfast broadband to as many additional premises as possible, using public funding of £7.57 million. The partnership is now looking to secure additional funding of up to £4.0 million to further extend coverage which could be included in this procurement exercise in addition to the £7.57 million already announced.

The Intervention Area map identify areas across the region where public funds can be invested to extend availability of superfast broadband in accordance with European Commission State aid regulations. This is restricted to areas of market failure, where private sector telecoms providers do not already provide services commercially or have no plans to do so in the foreseeable future.

The maps show the areas with existing or planned coverage as either black or grey. Any gaps in Next Generation Access (NGA) and Basic Broadband are shown in white. In addition, some areas have been labelled as 'Conditional' white (shown in green or blue) on the superfast map to indicate where a superfast solution may be 'at risk' for one of a number of reasons (see consultation document below for further details). These 'Conditional' white areas will be monitored by the Central Superfast project team and will be eligible for public sector intervention should the planned solution not be delivered.

February 2014 - £250m broadband boost

An extra £250m of government money for superfast broadband will help business start-ups and job creation in some of Bedfordshire’s hardest to reach rural areas, Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced today. The nationwide rollout is a key part of the Government’s long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future by providing better access to superfast broadband, and in allocating funding the Government has worked to ensure as many families and businesses as possible benefit.

Local projects in Bedfordshire will now receive additional funding from a £250m pot, with the hardest to reach locations amongst those who stand to benefit most. This funding is in addition to the £1.2bn already invested by central and local Government and will ensure 95% of UK homes and businesses have access to superfast broadband by 2017.

The current rural programme will deliver returns of £20 for every £1 invested, representing tremendous value for money. As well as improvements in the productivity of broadband - firms, faster broadband will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024, and the work involved in the current roll out is expected to provide a £1.5 billion boost to local economies, with approximately 35,000 job-years created or safeguarded over the period to 2016. By 2024, the government’s current investments in faster broadband will be boosting rural economies by £275m every month, or around £9m every day.

Over 10,000 homes and businesses are now gaining access each week, with this figure expected to reach 40,000 per week by summer this year. There are strong economic growth and efficiency reasons why local authorities should contribute towards to the cost of rolling out superfast broadband, and the additional £250m will be awarded on a match funding basis.

Indicative BDUK funding for Central Bedfordshire, Bedford Borough, Milton Keynes and Luton totals £3.18m.

Superfast broadband allows families to use multiple devices simultaneously, so while parents are streaming a movie or their favourite television programme, the kids can be uploading photos and videos to social media sites whilst downloading the latest track from their favourite artist. Businesses also stand to benefit hugely from the roll out, which will facilitate video conferencing, boost processing power and increasing productivity.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Superfast Broadband will benefit everyone - whether they need it for work, to do homework or simply to download music or films. Thousands of homes and businesses now have access and it is helping people with their everyday tasks. We want to make sure that Britain is one of the best countries in the world for broadband, and the extra £250m we are investing will help ensure communities around the UK are not left behind in the digital slow lane.”

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “Local authorities understand how important local residents and business consider the roll-out of superfast broadband so I am sure they will consider the continued use of match-funding to be fair and a priority area for future spending. To help ensure they can provide the funding required, we have been clear that councils can draw on their reserves or use the proceeds of any future asset sales.”

Cllr Flick Rea, Chair of the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board at the LGA said:

"Councils are committed to improving internet services for residents and business to help drive forward growth in their areas. This announcement of further funding is a positive step to build on the good work that has already been done locally to build better connected communities. We look forward to working with the Government on the roll-out of the schemes in the areas that are receiving funding.”

Government also recently committed £10m to look at ways to reach those areas in the "final 5 per cent". Potential technologies that could be piloted under this fund include:

  • using 4G mobile signal to deliver ‘fixed wireless’ superfast broadband’
  • using fibre direct to premises
  • taking fibre from broadband cabinets to a distribution point further down the network, increasing speeds by reducing the reliance on copper
  • satellite technology

The fund will open on 17 March 2014 and we are asking local authorities to offer support to these pilot projects.

February 2014 - programme hits 10,000 properties

Central Superfast programme hits 10,000 properties milestone.

On the day the Government is celebrating more than 2 million UK homes and businesses having access to superfast broadband as a result of the BDUK programme, over 10,000 extra homes and businesses can now connect to faster broadband - as the Central Superfast programme nears the end of its first 8 months of action.

More than 50 new structures are up and running, making high-speed broadband available to more than 10,000 extra homes and businesses, and work is continuing at speed.

The new technology provides download speeds of up to 80Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20Mbps, with the potential for even faster speeds in the future.

The multi-million pound Central Superfast partnership will make high-speed fibre broadband more widely available throughout Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, especially in rural areas. It builds on BT’s existing commercial rollout, which has already made fibre broadband available to around 300,000 Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes homes and businesses.

December 2013 - BDUK1 deployment phasing maps

With our project partner BT, our superfast broadband project will support almost 15,500 premises in Central Bedfordshire to receive superfast broadband services (speeds of at least 24 megabits per second) and ensure speeds of at least 2 megabits are available for all. This means that approximately 90% of Central Bedfordshire will be able to receive superfast broadband by 2016 / 17 under this plan.
The following phasing maps indicate our best understanding at this stage of project deployment. This gives our residents and business the best currently available information on where and when will receive support under the current plan.

Please note, the indicated phasing map and details for a postcode entered is the best indication available at the present time. It is likely that phasing and timings will change as survey work and / or implementation progresses and areas will be brought forward or pushed back as circumstances determine within the overall aim of delivering the maximum coverage with the resources available. The Central Superfast project will provide more details and announcements as the deployment phase progresses.

This project is in partnership with Broadband Delivery UK (link opens in new window), BT (link opens in new window), Milton Keynes Council and Bedford Borough Council.

August 2013 - initial contract awarded

Milton Keynes Council, Central Bedfordshire Council and Bedford Borough Council have signed a multi-million pound partnership project with BT which, when combined with commercial deployment across the area, should provide around 91 per cent of local homes and businesses with access to fibre broadband.

The project will provide a fibre broadband infrastructure to around 33,000 premises, of which around 32,000 will have access to superfast speeds of at least 24Mbps by spring 2016.

On completion of the rollout, the aim is for all premises within Milton Keynes, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford to receive a minimum of 2Mbps but with a vast majority achieving speeds well in excess of this. The new fibre network will transform broadband speeds across the rural areas. According to Ofcom, the average downstream speed in Milton Keynes is 10.8Mbps, whilst it’s 14.1Mbps and 13.7Mbps in Bedford and Central Bedfordshire respectively. BT has been chosen following an extensive and thorough selection process. The company is contributing £6.2m towards the overall cost of deployment in 'non-commercial' areas while Milton Keynes Council is contributing £2.4m, Central Bedfordshire Council contributing £1.2mand Bedford Borough Council contributing £440,000, with £2m coming from the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funds.

Councillor Richard Wenham, Deputy Executive Member for Corporate Resources said: "We have been listening to local residents and businesses, who say they want better broadband. These processes take time but today’s contract signing is a crucial step towards making that a reality. We are committed to improving infrastructure in Central Bedfordshire and superfast broadband is part of that. Rolling it out will have huge benefits - it will mean improved access to services for our residents and strengthen the local economy by opening up new markets and helping local business to grow and innovate."

Bill Murphy, managing director NGA for BT, added: “This is great news for the people living in these areas. It is important to support local economies, as well as helping new development and infrastructure in these communities. This is where fibre broadband can play an essential role by revitalising towns, villages and hamlets, helping businesses to be connected in these locations.”

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: “This project is fantastic news for the thousands of homes and businesses across Milton Keynes, Bedfordshire and Central Bedfordshire, and will be instrumental in driving growth, boosting the local economy, and achieving the Government’s objective of reaching 95% of UK premises by 2017.”

Engineers for Openreach, BT’s local network business, will build the new fibre infrastructure. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) will be the main technology deployed. This can deliver wholesale downstream speeds of more than 24Mbps (and in some cases up to 80Mbps), and upstream speeds of up to 20Mbps. Fibre to the Premises technology – delivering ultra-fast wholesale speeds of up to 330Mbps – will also be deployed in certain areas and will become available on demand in FTTC areas.

The new fibre-based network will be open to all communications providers on an equivalent basis. Households and businesses in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire will therefore benefit from a highly competitive market, bringing greater choice and affordable prices from a wide range of service providers. It will also boost the competitiveness of local businesses, helping them to find new customers and operate more efficiently, whilst opening up a host of new learning and development opportunities for households.

Fibre broadband benefits include users being able to use multiple bandwidth-hungry applications at the same time and sending and receiving large amounts of data much more quickly and efficiently. New fibre services are set to transform the way consumers use the internet, from the simple sharing of pictures and video to enjoying the growing boom in entertainment services available online.

For local businesses, the fibre network will underpin the introduction of many new services and applications. Big business applications driven by new ‘cloud’ services will be within the reach of enterprises of all sizes. Computer back up, storage and processing will be faster, and the use of high-quality video-conferencing will become a viable possibility.

Contact us

Email: broadband@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk

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