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4 February 2013, 16:39
BT has been chosen as the company to roll-out better broadband access across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
It should mean 90 percent of homes and businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have access to superfast broadband by 2015.
Basic broadband internet access is also expected to be available to every home and business across the area by that time.
The appointment of BT follows a bidding process, where a number of telecommunications companies applied for the contract.
The contract between Cambridgeshire County Council and BT is expected to be signed in March, with construction work on new infrastructure commencing shortly afterwards.
During a recent campaign run by the council, called 'Connecting Cambridgeshire', around 24,000 households and businesses signed a petition to bring superfast broadband to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
This campaign was designed to indicate to telecommunications companies that there is a clear demand for faster internet access across the area.
Cambridgeshire County Council has committed up to £20million to the programme together with up to £3million from Peterborough City Council and an allocation of £6.75 million government funding from BDUK (Broadband Delivery UK).
It is estimated that without this agreement with BT, around a third of premises in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough would still be unable be able to access faster broadband services by 2015.
Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke said: "We took a bold approach to get the best broadband deal for the whole of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Choosing BT as our investment partner means we will be able to achieve our ambitious targets for rolling out better broadband for all by 2015.
We are making a significant investment at a time when public finances are under pressure but this is the right thing to do for the people and businesses of Cambridgeshire - for now and in the long term.
Investing in better broadband is vital to driving local economic growth and building thriving, connected communities across our county. It will help Cambridgeshire and Peterborough businesses to grow and compete, allow more people to work from home and create new jobs.
Better broadband connections will also ensure that our rural communities are not left out of the digital world so that people can get access to all the education, health and public services they need without having to travel.
We have to thank everyone who showed the huge demand for better broadband by registering for the Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign - particularly our 100 Broadband Champions, as well as local Members, community groups and business organisations."
Peterborough City Council Leader, Councillor Marco Cereste, said: "I am pleased to announce we have selected BT as our investment partner and the roll-out of better broadband can now begin.
Securing better broadband will connect communities across Peterborough and our surrounding villages.
It will help local businesses to grow and compete, allow more people to work from home, create new jobs, and ensures that our rural communities are not left out of the digital world."