Up to 600,000 extra homes and businesses to get superfast broadband under the Government’s flagship rollout scheme
Up to 600,000 extra UK homes and businesses are set to benefit from superfast broadband thanks to an further £440 million funding, which has been ‘unlocked’ to give more properties in the hardest-to-reach locations access to quick and reliable internet connections.
This new cash boost is a combination of efficiency savings and a clawback mechanism which reinvests money when people take up superfast connections installed by the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK project.
Twenty-six per cent of homes and businesses in Scotland have already taken advantage of the project and have signed up for superfast connections in areas where the Government has subsidised rollout.
Therefore, BT will release £292 million for extra connections – with £133 million already allocated to be spent in regions around the UK.
Of this money, £17,843,000 will be spent in Scotland.
Careful contract management by the Government, local authorities and BT has also saved more than £150 million across 44 projects as the first phase of rollout draws to a close – meaning that a total of £442 million can now be reinvested in taking superfast speeds to some of the most remote parts of the country.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “Our Broadband Delivery UK programme is giving families and businesses in hard-to-reach areas the fast and reliable internet connections which are increasingly at the heart of modern life.
“Strong take-up and robust value-for-money measures mean £440 million will be available for reinvestment where it matters – putting more connections in the ground.
“This will benefit around 600,000 extra premises and is a further sign of our commitment to build a country that works for everyone.”
Superfast speeds (measured at 24Mbps) allow families to watch TV on multiple devices at the same time, or let children do homework while parents do online banking and shopping.
The technology is suitable for most businesses too, allowing bosses to run websites and buy and sell online, and is expected to carry on meeting these needs for years to come.
Around 4.5million premises have been given access to superfast broadband through the Government’s £1.7 billion Broadband Delivery UK rollout, with more than 1.5 million signing up for a faster connection.
It means more than 90% of the UK can now get superfast broadband – up from 45% in 2010 – with coverage on track to reach 97% by 2020.
Bradley is encouraging more people to sign up to unlock extra funding for more connections.
She said: “We have made great progress but there is still more to do.
“Broadband speeds aren’t boosted automatically – it needs people to sign up. Increasing take-up is a win-win-win: consumers get a better service, it encourages providers to invest, and when more people sign up in BDUK areas, money is clawed back to pay for more connections.”
UK Government Minister for Scotland Andrew Dunlop said: “Good connectivity is essential for the way we live our lives – whether that is doing business, teaching our children, or paying our bills. The UK Government is committed to delivering faster, better broadband for Scotland, and this extra £18 million of investment will connect even more Scottish homes and businesses.
“It is imperative Scotland gets the technology it needs for the future, which is why the UK Government has already spent £120 million rolling out reliable broadband across Scotland, supporting families and helping businesses thrive.”