£440m to be invested
600,000 homes and firms get superfast broadband
It will give more properties in the hardest-to-reach parts of the UK quick and reliable internet connections.
Superfast speeds (measured at 24Mbps) allow families to watch TV on multiple devices at the same time. It also helps businesses run websites and buy and sell online.
However, the roll-out comes with concern that it does not deal with the final connection to premises which still uses copper and slows down the process.
The cash for the programme has been unlocked by a combination of efficiency savings and a clawback mechanism which re-invests money when people take up superfast connections installed by the Broadband Delivery UK project via BT.
New figures show around 1.5 million homes and businesses have now taken advantage and signed up for superfast connections in areas where Government has subsidised rollout.
As a result, BT will be releasing £292 million for extra connections – with £133m already allocated to be spent in regions around the UK.
Contract management by the UK Government, local authorities and BT has also saved more than £150m across 44 projects as the first phase of rollout draws to a close.
It means £442m 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.”
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 should mean more than 90%of the UK can now get superfast broadband – up from 45% in 2010 – and coverage is on track to reach 97% by 2020.
Mrs Bradley is encouraging more people to sign up to unlock extra funding for more connections.
The Culture Secretary 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: “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 £18m 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 £120m rolling out reliable broadband across Scotland, supporting families and helping businesses thrive.”