Progress Overview

The County Council has set ambitious local targets for coverage. These targets can be viewed on our background and targets page. 

A key strand of the County Council's approach is to promote Northamptonshire as a great place for commercial investment by telecoms providers.  Attracting the interest of telecoms providers aims to maximise commercial coverage without the need for public funding.  It also increases competition, encourages innovation and provides choice for end users.  This approach has been successful with three new fibre network providers investing significantly in the county since the start of the project.  A full list of the known commercial fibre suppliers in Northamptonshire can be found on the Telecoms Providers page.

However, commercial provision is not viable everywhere.  Places which fall outside of commercial plans are the focus for public investment through the Superfast Northamptonshire project. This is being managed in stages as resources and plans are secured.   

Contracts are currently in place with both BT/Openreach (Stage 1 and 2) and Gigaclear Networks (Stage 3) to roll out to many of those areas which otherwise would not be served.  The plans of both suppliers have suffered delays.  The County Council is clearly disappointed that communities will not be served as quickly as first expected, whilst we remain committed to seeing these plans fulfilled.  Plans will continue to be updated on the When and Where map and the Roll Out Schedule.  Any additional costs of these delays to the project will be borne by BT/Openreach and Gigaclear Networks. 

Despite these delays, Northamptonshire remains one of the top performing areas for superfast broadband coverage, and we are continuing to work towards our 2021 targets.  By the end of 2018, around 98% of premises in the county had access to superfast broadband compared to 96% on average across England.

More information about the delays is provided in a statement here. File Download - Broadband Roll Out Update November 2018.pdfBroadband Roll Out Update November 2018.pdf

At the outset of each stage of the project, the County Council is required to determine where public investment is needed to bring forward superfast broadband.  These are the areas of market failure where there are no apparent commercial plans to deliver telecoms networks over which superfast broadband services could be provided.  The County Council determines these through a process known as an Open Market Review (OMR). 

Through the OMR, the County Council consults telecoms providers to find out where they already have network and where they are planning to serve in the next three years looking ahead.  This involves the analysis of a huge amount of data.  This is because there are over 319,600 premises and over 16,000 postcodes in the county as well as quite a few different telecoms providers and not all will use the same baseline data.  This data is reconciled and brought together into a single postcode or premise level data set for the county, setting out where commercial plans are expected.  The outcome of the OMR is captured on State Aid Intervention Area maps for both basic broadband (above 2Mbps) and Next Generation Access (NGA) coverage (providing for speeds above 30Mbps). You can find out more about NGA in the FAQs here.

The State Aid Intervention Area maps show where there is or is expected to be commercial coverage (shown in grey or black) and areas still in need i.e. where there are no known commercial plans – these are the white areas which represent the proposed Intervention Area for public investment.  The Intervention Area maps are consulted on through a State Aid Public Consultation.

On conclusion of this consultation, the County Council has to make any adjustments required to the mapping following any responses received, as appropriate.  The maps and the methodology are then reported to the National Competence Centre (managed by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)) to notify them of the intention to invest public funding in the Intervention Area and to secure clearance for this 'State aid'.  You can find out more about the Intervention Area for Stage 3 and view the map on the State Aid Public Consultation page.

This process has been followed in 2012, 2014 and 2015/16 for the purpose of Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the project.


  • ​Stage 1 was completed in December 2015, three months ahead of the contracted March 2016 deadline.

  • c.90% coverage target achieved, when combined with expected current and planned commercial coverage (pre-2016 baseline adjustment).

  • The County Council's appointed telecoms supplier to deliver Stage 1 is Openreach (contract dated March 2013; extended in 2014).

  • Access to superfast broadband (access line speeds >24Mbps) has been provided to an additional 53,800 premises within target Intervention Area. This compares to a contract target of 53,400.

  • A total of 61,950 premises have been passed by fibre (fibre footprint – variable access line speed).  This compares to a contract target of 60,950.

  • The Roll Out Schedule shows the latest delivery headlines.

  • See Working with BT/Openreach for more information.

​Stages 2 and 3 of the project are focused on bringing forward solutions for the final c.10% of premises in the county which are not due to be served commercially and have not been served through Stage 1 of the project.

  • The County Council appointed telecoms supplier Openreach to deliver Stage 2 (contract November 2014).

  • This extends superfast broadband coverage plans secured through the project, and contributed to exceeding the Government's target of 95% of premises with have access to superfast broadband by December 2017 (when combined with existing and planned commercial coverage).   

  • Current Stage 2 plans will provide access to superfast broadband to an additional 19,600 premises with public investment. This will be delivered as part of a larger fibre footprint reaching more than 22,700 premises.

  • Preparatory works started in autumn 2015, earlier than planned.  The first part of the network build and new fibre cabinets installed went live in January 2016; 9 months ahead of contract plans. 

  • The Stage 2 deployment was expected to run from early 2016 to the end of December 2017.  Whilst the majority of coverage has been completed, Openreach's plans have suffered delays.  A revised programme is being prepared.  This could extend completion until mid to late 2019.

  • The Roll Out Schedule shows the current delivery headlines and progress as well as current forecast timescales for the completion of structures coming forward in build plans.  These can be subject to change.

See Working with BT/Openreach for more information. 

You can find out more about how superfast broadband plans are coming forward in the county by visiting our interactive "When and Where" map.

Stage 3 focuses on areas where plans for superfast broadband have yet to be secured i.e. they are not expected to be served commercially and they are not part of Stage 1 or Stage 2 of the project.  Following the State Aid Public Consultation which closed on 30th June 2016, the County Council currently estimates this to involve around 14,000 premises. This is slightly higher than previously reported because it is based on an adjusted baseline for 2016.  The new baseline involves a higher premise count for the county and reflects the latest information on commercial coverage (as determined through an Open Market Review 2016) and a higher minimum NGA speed threshold of 30Mbps.

These 14,000 premises are dispersed across the County in rural areas including whole and parts of communities and remote premises.  It also includes pockets of premises in the urban areas.  Whilst higher density urban areas are mostly served commercially by one or more providers, some pockets can be more challenging or costly to serve and therefore are not attractive to the private market.

The County Council's Cabinet in October 2015 agreed the approach for Stage 3.  This involves three routes to engage with the telecoms market:

  • Continued promotion of Northamptonshire as a great place for commercial investment by telecoms providers with a view to maximising commercial coverage (no public funding requirement); 

  • Launching a further public procurement to secure private sector co-investment and solutions from the telecoms market to deliver alongside existing plans. This was issued on 1st September 2016 (see Stage 3 Procurement) and resulted in the appointment of Gigaclear;

  • Exploring what more could reasonably be delivered through the County Council's existing contract with Openreach and with additional public sector investment. 

Stage 3 will extend plans for superfast broadband even further in the county and will take us closer towards our target.  Prior to Stage 3, we already had plans in place which exceeded the government's national policy target to see 95% superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2017.  The first announcements on Stage 3 in January 2017 with Gigaclear Networks will extend this provision to around 98%, when combined with commercial coverage.  The County Council is progressing other Stage 3 measures to extend superfast broadband coverage further.  This includes considering what more could be achieved through existing arrangements with Openreach and Gigaclear Networks.

The County Council launched a public procurement on 1st September 2016. This followed an Open Market Review to find out about commercial plans in the county and a State Aid Public Consultation which closed in June 2016. (See 'Identifying Where Public Investment is Needed' above to find out more)

The County Council sought  bids from telecoms suppliers to plan, design, build, operate and maintain high performance broadband networks - "Next Generation Access" (NGA) (see FAQs). The network should be capable of supporting download speeds over 30Mbps and at least doubling the speed available in the areas served (average overall). 

The County Council has invested £6.58m in this part of Stage 3, including £1.68m from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. 

A number of telecoms providers submitted bids in response to the Invitation to Tender.  Gigaclear Networks offered the optimum solution with a pure fibre network capable of supporting services up to 1Gbps.  The County Council awarded two contracts to Gigaclear to deliver this first part of Stage 3.  Together these will provide ultrafast broadband – the fastest speeds available in the county - to over 6,300 rural premises.  

The When and Where map (updated quarterly) and the Roll Out Schedule (updated monthly) provide more information on coverage plans in the county and the roll out to comunities.  In the meantime, you can use Gigaclear Network's Availability Checker to see if your home or business is expected to be served or to register an interest.

For more information on Gigaclear's plans for Stage 3 please go to the 'Working with Gigaclear' page of the website.

The target for the Superfast Northamptonshire project, and nationally, is to see basic broadband (download speeds above 2Mbps) universally available by the end of 2015.  A Better Broadband scheme was launched by the County Council in December 2015, as part of the Government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) national initiative.  This enables people with the slowest broadband speeds in the county to access faster services.  The scheme involves a number of registered providers. Taking up the options for faster services is a matter of choice for individuals. 

The first scheme was extended until end of December 2018.  This scheme has now closed but is due to be re-launched in January 2019. 

The new Better Broadband Scheme will be available until 31st December 2019, ensuring that a subsidised basic broadband installation remains available to eligible applicants.

In support of this extension, BDUK is taking the opportunity to improve the scheme's processes and functionality in order to deliver a more efficient and effective service.  

You can find out more about how superfast broadband plans are coming forward in the county by visiting our interactive "When and Where" map.

 You can find out more about how superfast broadband plans are coming forward in the county by visiting our interactive “When and Where” map.