Tuesday, 12 August 2014
1 Million Superfast Broadband Premises Passed
Digital infrastructure plays a pivotal role in the Government’s long-term economic plan. Central and local government is therefore investing up to £1.7 billion to extend superfast broadband. In 2010, fewer than half of UK premises had access to superfast broadband. But this public investment, which we can only afford because we have taken difficult decisions on spending elsewhere, alongside private investment, means we have now extended access to 78% of the UK. And by 2017 95% of the UK will be able to access superfast broadband, benefiting millions of Britain’s homes and businesses.
The nationwide roll-out is on track to deliver our targets and today I am pleased to announce that the Government’s programme has now reached over 1million homes and businesses. These are all areas that the private sector would not otherwise have reached. Many local broadband projects around the country and the devolved administrations will be celebrating this achievement.
The current roll-out is expected to provide a £1.5 billion boost to local economies. By 2024, the Government’s current investments in faster broadband will be boosting rural economies by £275 million every month or around £9 million every day. Overall, the Superfast Broadband Programme will deliver returns of up to £20 for every £1 invested, promoting local growth and representing tremendous value for money.
Forty three projects across the regions targeted by Government are now “live” and around 40,000 premises are gaining access every week, double the number being reached in the spring. Current UK coverage of superfast broadband is the highest of the top five European economies and we also lead our European counterparts in terms of take up, competitiveness and pricing.
I firmly believe that this transformation of the digital landscape should reach every area of the UK. Focus is now on the “final 5%” – those areas in the hardest to reach places in the UK that are not covered by existing plans. £10m is being invested in a series of pilot projects across the nation to investigate the best way of tackling these areas. The findings will be used to help decide our future approach so that everyone can benefit from the transformation of the digital landscape currently underway. Backing businesses with broadband infrastructure means they can create more jobs. In turn, that means more people waking up each morning knowing that they have the security of a job.
I am determined to make the UK the best connected country in the world. I look forward to keeping you up-to-date on the progress of the Superfast Britain programme and all our future plans.
Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport