The UK Government appears to be on target for achieving its superfast broadband delivery goal – and may go beyond it.
The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) program aims provide superfast broadband coverage to 95% of the UK by December this year. The UK Government defines superfast broadband speeds as being 24 Mbps or more. For the remaining 5%, access to “basic broadband” is to be provided; a minimum of 2Mbps.
Late last week, UK Minister for Digital Matt Hancock announced superfast broadband access was now available to almost 94 per cent of UK homes and businesses.
“We are on track to reach 95 per cent by the end of the year, but we know there’s still more to do,” said Minister Hancock.
That effort will be helped along by a total of up to £645m to be made available over the coming years – what the government is calling the “great British broadband boost”.
The windfall is due to a clause in the Government’s contracts that require suppliers to “recycle” funding when households and businesses sign up for connections under the programme – and uptake has been higher than forecast. Added to this are project efficiencies, that resulted in £180m saved.
The total amount of cash could translate to more than 900,000 extra UK homes and businesses getting access to superfast speeds after 2017, boosting coverage to 98 per cent of the nation over the next few years.
“The money that is now being returned to the programme for reinvestment will help us reach that final 5 per cent, and is all part of our commitment to make sure that 100 per cent of the UK can get affordable, fast and reliable broadband by 2020,” said Minister Hancock.
In other related news from the UK, Minister Hancock delivered a keynote address to the UK Internet Governance Forum on Wednesday, outlining the Government’s views of the internet of the future.
“We seek an internet that is free, open and safe, that fosters innovation, where standards are driven by experts, in which all stakeholders have a say in how the internet is run, and where the major players act to prevent harm,” he said.
“We want Britain to lead the way, as the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business.”