Government Broadband Schemes To Reach 4m By Spring

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Government says 3.5m covered by BDUK, says satellite coverage and 10Mbps universal service obligation will boost UK broadband further

The government is using the festive period to celebrate the success of its superfast broadband projects, claiming that 3.5 million homes and businesses that would not have otherwise been covered by commercial deployments have now been connected.

The Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) initiative, which sees any local funding matched by central government, is expected to reach four million properties by the spring and the government says it is still “on track” to reach its target of 95 percent coverage by 2017.

Up to 55,000 small businesses have benefited from the super connected city voucher scheme, which provided grants of up to £3,000 before it was suspended earlier this year after all of its funding was exhausted.

Government broadband

BT Cumbria Fell End fibre broadband“Our rollout of superfast broadband is one of the biggest and most challenging infrastructure projects undertaken by Government in recent times,” said Ed Vaizey, minister for the digital economy.

“We need to keep the UK moving with the demands of the digital age, and our tremendous progress throughout 2015 has equipped businesses with the tools they need to grow, and homes with the technology to be part of our online global community.”

The government said all properties were now guaranteed speeds of at least 2Mbps thanks to a subsidised satellite broadband initiative for which an estimated 300,000 premises are eligible for, and has reiterated that a consultation on a proposed 10Mbps universal service obligation will start in early 2016.

Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested a 2020 deadline for that particular promise, but it is unclear at this stage what public support will be available. BT has said it would be a willing partner should any funding become available. Virgin Media objects to any extension of BDUK.

BDUK has been criticised for a number of factors, including the speed of rollout, an alleged lack of transparency and that handing BT so much public money is in effect a public subsidy. Both the government and BT have continually defended their progress.

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