Rural UK properties to get superfast broadband boost

The government has said that around 600,000 extra homes and businesses in remote areas of the UK are in line to get superfast broadband services.

Rural UK properties to get superfast broadband boost

Culture secretary Karen Bradley announced that the boost to broadband infrastructure will be part of the Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK), and has come as a result of £440 million being unlocked by a combination of “efficiency savings” and money returned by BT.

“The cash boost is a combination of efficiency savings and a clawback mechanism which reinvests money when people take up superfast connections installed by the Broadband Delivery UK project,” said the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) said.

Of this figure, £150 million will come from cost savings made by the government, and the rest will come from returned subsidies from BT. Why exactly is BT paying this amount? In 2010 the government paid BT to install superfast broadband to remote areas. A deal was made that meant if over 20% to premises in the areas bought into superfast broadband, BT would need to repay a portion of the subsidy.

According to the BBC, the take-up has been 30.6% on average, resulting in a forecast repayment of £292 million.

The £1.7 billion BDUK project aims to provide broadband connections with speeds of 24Mbits/sec or more to at least 95% of UK premises by December 2017. DCMS claims that the latest figures point to 90% of the country having access to superfast broadband, compared to 45% in 2010. The extra funds are intended to bring that figure to the 95% mark.

The project looks to be on track within its schedule, and BT has called it “a huge success story for the UK”, but there are questions about whether an infrastructure that puts broadband into homes via copper wire, as opposed to fibre, is adequately future-proof. Regardless, the boost in funding looks to be good news for those living in hard-to-reach areas.

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