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BDUK superfast broadband rollout has reached more than 4m homes

Thursday, August 25th 2016 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The government’s broadband rollout has made superfast speeds available to more than four million premises, a new report claims.

According to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s latest Broadband Performance Indicator, 4,021,047 homes and businesses could access fibre at the end of June thanks to state-funded broadband projects.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) projects provide superfast coverage to areas not included in commercial rollouts by the likes of BT and Virgin Media.

The report says BDUK funding given to councils and devolved administrations has topped £492m, with the average number of premises reached per £1m sitting at just over 8,000.

Andrew Walwyn, chief executive of satellite broadband provider Europasat, said it was encouraging to see progress being made on connecting the “last 5%”.

BDUK is expected to provide superfast coverage to 95% of the UK by December 2017. Its CEO Chris Townsend told Cable.co.uk last year that a plan to tackle the final 5% was almost ready.

But, said Mr Walwyn, progress has been slow considering the wide availability of satellite services.

“In most countries where we operate it’s clear that progress could have been made far earlier, but has been stymied by incumbent large telecoms providers and, to an extent governments, by significantly overpromising the speed and scale of fibre deployment,” he said.

“Everyone in a rural area throughout Europe will relate stories of repeated ‘false dawns’ on terrestrial high speed broadband rollout.


“Now really is the time to take advantage of the financial support afforded via the Better Broadband Scheme through BDUK and we’re delighted that finally the message seems to be getting out.”

BT’s efforts to tackle the final 5% include a grant scheme for communities not covered by commercial rollouts or BDUK projects.

Eligible communities can get match funding up to £20,000 towards the cost of a new fibre network – as long as the technology is capable of serving the local school.

Earlier this week, Ditcham in Hampshire became the first village to take advantage of the scheme, securing £17,500 from BT that will bring fibre to local residents as well as Ditcham Park School.

Kim Mears, managing director of infrastructure at Openreach, said: “Getting faster speeds to communities in the final few percent of the UK is a top priority for Openreach and the people of Ditcham are pioneering a new way to achieve this.

“More than 120 communities across the country have already signed up to our co-funded Community Fibre Partnerships scheme, with 60 already enjoying the benefits of superfast broadband.

“We hope the availability of these new grants will encourage even more communities to work with us on bringing high-speed connectivity to their town or village.”

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