New government figures show BDUK is making more gains as coverage target edges nearer
The government-assisted rollout of superfast broadband has now directly connected 3.3 million homes and businesses to speeds of at least 24Mbps.
New figures released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) show Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), which offers funds to deploy fibre in areas not considered commercially viable, has handed out £372.2 million to local authorities as of September 2015.
This means 8,899 premises have been connected per £1 million of central government funding, however given that BT have invested significant amounts in the rollout, and all money from BDUK must be matched by local authorities the actual cost will be higher. Additionally, some projects have received funds from other sources such as the European Union.
In June 2015, 2.9 million properties had been connected by BDUK at a cost of £331.8 million, while a year ago, 1.4 million homes and businesses had benefited with £99.8 million handed out.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale suggested last week that the actual figure would reach 3.5 million next month.
The government is targeting 95 percent superfast broadband coverage by 2017 and plans to cover the entire of the UK by the end of parliament. The ‘final five’ percent will be connected by alternative technologies such as wireless and satellite although there are no firm rollout plans in place yet.
Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced plans to ensure anyone in the UK would be able to receive 10Mbps by 2020. It is unclear what public support will be available to help achieve this goal, but BT has said it would be a willing partner.
BDUK has been criticised for a number of factors, including the speed of rollout, an alleged lack of transparency and that handing BT so much public money is in effect a public subsidy. Both the government and BT have continually defended their progress.
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