The Superfast Northamptonshire project is promoting and securing investment in "next generation access" (NGA) pure fibre and fibre based broadband infrastructure which is capable of, at least, supporting superfast broadband services, but striving to maximise speed capability in support of full fibre and gigabit capable targets. It is investing in areas which otherwise would be unlikely to benefit from NGA broadband infrastructure.
Project targets - earlier years
Government previously set a national target of 95% superfast broadband (greater than 24mbps download speeds) coverage to be achieved by 31st December 2017. The target related to numbers of premises rather than geographical coverage. This national target was met, and in Northamptonshire, exceeded, reaching 97%. By the end of 2018, coverage had reached 98%. The superfast programme has made a significant impact, giving around 75,000 properties in Northamptonshire timely access to much faster broadband. Alongside this programme, local and national ambitions have now been raised, with sights also firmly on future widespread gigabit capable (at least 1Gbps which is equal to 1000 Mbps) and full fibre networks.
In July 2018, the UK Government published the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review which set out a national, long-term strategy for digital connectivity. The UK government published a Digital Strategy addressing the main milestones for future broadband development throughout the UK. The UK has published a 5G Strategy, which sets out the Government's ambition to become a world-leading digital economy.
Current project targets - raising the ambition
In June 2018, the County Council agreed new targets for the Superfast Northamptonshire project, focused on superfast and ultrafast (greater than 100Mbps download speeds) coverage. The ambition was raised again in 2019, with additional and challenging targets for gigabit capable (at least 1Gbps which is equal to 1000 Mbps) and full fibre coverage. This represents a clear commitment to support local business and residents through access to the best digital connectivity available, and to boost economic performance in the county. Such connectivity will be crucial to support economic recovery in the post-COVID-19 world.
Digital technologies have advanced more rapidly than any innovation in history. The County Council believes that its early intervention with government, to support 'superfast' broadband has been crucial for the economy by enabling widespread availability to digital technology which can enhance business performance and efficiency. It's also supporting home working, leisure, health care and environmental benefits, and access to learning. Digital connectivity needs have been brought into sharp focus with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, digital creativity and innovation is driving ever increasing consumption of broadband capability and our local ambition recognises that full fibre and gigabit capable technology is crucial for future prosperity – and it's unlikely to end there. The County Council has set challenging targets in support of the government's digital connectivity ambition for the UK.
Summary of current project targets
|Year ||County Council Target||Government Target|
|March 2021||At least 99% of premises in the county should have access to superfast broadband and 65% with ultrafast ||See targets for 2025 and 2033|
|December 2023||40% of premises connected to full fibre and 75% of premises served by gigabit capable networks||See targets for 2025 and 2033|
|Year 2025|| |
minimum of 85% gigabit-capable coverage
|Year 2033||Full fibre coverage across all parts of the country|
Summary of project targets which have been achieved
|Year ||County Council Target||Government Targets|
By end 2015
|90% of premises in the county should have access to superfast broadband (>24Mbps)||Target for early 2016|
By early 2016
|Achieved in early 2015||90% of premises in the UK should have access to superfast broadband|
|Local plans secured which reach 97% of premises||95% of premises in the UK should have access to superfast broadband|
Better Broadband Scheme
In addition to the superfast full fibre broadband targets, there was also a commitment to see basic broadband services of at least 2Mbps available to all premises. A Better Broadband subsidy scheme was launched by the County Council in December 2015, as part of a national programme and closed in December 2019. This provided people who were suffering the lowest broadband speeds in the county (below 2Mbps) with the opportunity to take up faster services offered by a range of registered providers.
Universal Service Obligation (USO)
The Government has since agreed a Universal Service Obligation (USO) intended as a "safety net" to deliver broadband to those premises that do not have access to a decent and affordable connection.
For more information and eligibility criteria, please visit the Ofcom website.
The Superfast Northamptonshire project is working with suppliers to ensure that Northamptonshire is one of the best places (urban and rural) in the country for fast and reliable broadband connectivity. You can keep up to date on project progress on the Progress Overview page.
You can find out more about Next Generation Access (NGA) and the definitions of superfast and ultrafast broadband in the FAQs.