We have now approved the local broadband plans for Durham, Warwickshire, Northumberland and Staffordshire project areas, which means that 24 of the 45 plans received by the 29 February deadline have been approved; that is more than half. All submitted plans, including Greater Manchester’s, will be approved by the end of April 2012.
We anticipate that the contract for the broadband delivery framework will be signed with suppliers in mid-April and expect the first three projects to enter procurement using the framework immediately following the contract’s being signed. We have set a target for all broadband procurements to be completed by the end of 2012.
The announcement last August also indicated a figure of almost £70 million to be used in Scotland. What contact, if any, does the Minister have with the Scottish Government about how services are being developed north of the border?
It was once said that the entire empire hung by Lancashire’s thread. Will the Minister join me in congratulating Lancashire county council on prioritising superfast broadband? The entire county now hangs from its fibre optic cable.