New figures from DCMS show BDUK rollout is gaining momentum, two years before 95 percent coverage deadline
Three million homes and businesses now have access to superfast broadband speeds of 30Mbps as a direct result of projects funded by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the government has revealed.
Figures from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) show 2,905,764 premises had been passed at the end of June, with £331,828,330 spent so far.
This equates to 8,757 premises per £1 million spent, although DCMS says that because work is carried out ahead of payment, the true figure is likely to be close to 7,904 per £1 million on the assumption that expenditures so far are £367,635,571.
An additional 40,000 properties are being passed each week, according to the government. The latest figures exclude the super connected city voucher scheme, the Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) and other public broadband initiatives.
Three million passed
BDUK provides central government funding to local authorities to help pay for the rollout of superfast broadband in areas deemed to be not economically viable by commercial rollouts. Any money received by authorities must be matched, while BT, which has won the vast majority of BDUK contracts, has also invested significant amounts.
However last week, BT will be handing back £129 million to authorities after adoption estimates increased from 20 percent to 30 percent, activating a clause in the company’s contracts. This money will be reinvested to expand coverage and bring fibre to more areas sooner.
“Reaching three million properties is a huge achievement,” said Culture Secretary John Whittingdale. “Our rollout of superfast broadband is transforming lives up and down the country as every day thousands more homes and businessaes are gaining access to superfast speeds.
“It’s fantastic to see that the rollout of superfast broadband is now delivering for customers and for the taxpayer. The levels of people taking up superfast broadband in areas where we invested public money are beyond our expectations, and BT is now reimbursing the public purse to deliver further coverage across the UK.”
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.
In total, 23 million properties are covered by BT’s Openreach fibre network – 80 percent of all UK premises – with 4.6 million taking up superfast services from BT, Sky, TalkTalk and other providers.
BDUK has been a controversial process, with MPs questioning whether it has provided the taxpayer with value for money and rivals arguing whether it has effectively provided state aid for BT. Rural residents and businesses have also complained about slow rollout and being left out of existing projects.
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