Government claims BDUK is helping the UK achieve one of the fastest superfast broadband rollouts in the world
The government says 1.5 million properties have been connected to superfast broadband as the direct result of state-sponsored initiatives like Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) and claims this is one of the fastest rollouts in the world.
Superfast broadband now reaches 80 percent of the UK population, with the government stating it is now firmly on track to reach its target of 95 percent by 2017. It adds that 26 percent of all connections are now superfast, contributing to the average UK broadband speed quadrupling over the past four years to 18.7Mbps.
“We know how important superfast broadband is to everyone, which is exactly why we are investing £1.7bn in this remarkable project,” says culture secretary Sajid Javid. “Our transformation of the UK’s digital landscape is progressing at an incredible rate and delivering a tremendous boost to the nation’s economy.”
More than 40,000 homes and businesses are being added each week, with the last figures released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in August revealing that one million premises had been connected by government broadband schemes.
BDUK provides funding to local authorities, who must match anything awarded by central government, for the rollout of superfast broadband in areas that would not otherwise be covered by commercial deployments from BT and Virgin Media.
However the scheme has proved controversial, with BT awarded all of the money available, leading to accusations of a lack of transparency, while others have questioned whether is tantamount to state aid. However BT has rejected such claims and is proud of its achievements.
“Reaching one and a half million premises ahead of schedule is a fantastic achievement, but there’s still more to do,” says Bill Murphy, Managing Director of Next Generation Access for BT. “The fibre broadband rollout is bringing really positive social and economic benefits to people all over the UK, and this programme is a great example of successful partnership between the private sector, local and national government.”
Those connected to BT’s Openreach network can receive services from a range of providers, including BT itself, TalkTalk, Sky and EE. The Openreach fibre network now reaches 21 million properties each week, with 3.3 million active connections. Around 344,000 new fibre users were added in the most recent quarter, two thirds of which signed up with BT Retail.
Earlier this week, the Scottish government revealed that 150,000 homes and businesses had been connected thanks to the Digital Scotland BDUK partnership, which is also funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
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