Surrey County Council has launched its own broadband supplier tendering process in an effort to ensure that the county achieves full high speed broadband coverage by 2013.
Although national telecommunications supplier, BT, has committed to extending its high speed broadband network throughout the UK, Surrey County Council says that without its own private tendering initiative up to 20% of Surrey addresses will still remain unable to access high speed broadband – especially those businesses and homes based in the county’s more rural areas.
The Council says it has taken this unilateral step because it believes that high speed broadband is an ‘essential tool’ crucial to the county’s future. As Dr Andrew Povey, leader of Surrey County Council, explains: ‘Fast and reliable internet access is vital for business…and we are committed to making sure that those in rural areas and other parts of Surrey where service is patchy are not left behind’.
It is certainly true that as well as facilitating the swift transmission of large amounts of data – textual and visual – high speed broadband also paves the way for the adoption of critical value added services such as business VoIP (voice over internet protocol) and internet protocol (IP) telephony.
Business VoIP is particularly sought after by many firms because of the considerable savings achievable on voice calls compared with calls made over traditional telephone land lines. Such services can be made available either through the installation of IP telephony-compatible business phone systems; or alternatively via a hosted service from a business VoIP supplier or VoIP reseller. In either case, however, a suitable broadband internet connection is required to carry the VoIP signals.
Surrey County Council’s invitation to tender for is due to be formally launched in July, with a decision on the winning bid expected by May next year.