The government’s roll-out of superfast broadband has now touched 1.5 million homes and businesses across the UK, just three months after it celebrated passing its millionth premises.
From a troubled start, and despite the criticism that still besets it, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is now passing more than 40,000 new properties every week, the government claimed. It is now entering the fastest stage of deployment, with a good number of the 44 local authorities participating in the scheme understood to be ahead of schedule.
“Our transformation of the UK’s digital landscape is progressing at an incredible rate and delivering a tremendous boost to the nation’s economy,” said culture secretary Sajid Javid.
BDUK’s only partner, BT, said it had now rolled out 25,000 km of fibre-optic cabling around the country and deployed 8,500 street cabinets in rural communities.
Coupled with commercial roll-outs, both BT’s and others' average national broadband speed in the UK has now quadrupled from 5.2Mbps in May 2010 to 18.7Mbps in May 2014.
More on broadband roll-out
The government said it remained confident the roll-out would cover 95% of the UK by the original 2017 deadline. Currently, 80% of premises can access superfast broadband under the government definition, up from 45% in 2009.
BT managing director of next generation access Bill Murphy acknowledged the scale of the work still to be done.
“BT is investing more than £3bn of our shareholders’ money to plan, design and build a national network that reaches as many homes and businesses as possible,” he said.
“The fibre broadband roll-out is bringing really positive social and economic benefits to people all over the UK, and this programme is a great example of successful partnership between the private sector, local and national government.”