News - 08 August 2014

Superfast broadband reaches 1 million more homes and businesses

The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband has now reached more than 1 million homes and businesses across the UK, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, announced today.

The £1.7billion nationwide rollout is firmly on track to extend superfast broadband to 95% of UK homes and businesses by 2017. The rate at which the fibre technology is being rolled out under the programme is rapidly accelerating, with up to 40,000 premises gaining access every week.

As a result of the work being done, more than 70,000 homes and businesses in the East Midlands are already able to access the new fibre broadband service the rollout is delivering.

The UK-wide rollout is a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future by providing access to superfast broadband in areas the private sector would not otherwise have reached. The current rural programme will deliver returns of £20 for every £1 invested, representing tremendous value for money.

Andrew and Suzanne Stokes run their TumTum children’s cutlery and tableware range from Hathersage in the Peak District. Their entire business relies on access to superfast broadband to enable them to compete in a global market from their rural base.

It enables them to win contracts and compete in a global market as clients have told them the ability to communicate with ease is a key factor in winning contracts. They are able to use Skype to conduct business face to face with clients across the world which aids proper understanding.   

Pete said: “Superfast broadband has been a significant upgrade for my business. I now have a much more stable performance during peak usage period and can work effectively with clients in the US and Canadian time zones.

“It also enables me to route all business telephone calls via the internet which gives working from home a more professional image and saves the expense of a dedicated business telephone line.

“Recently, I managed a large overnight system upgrade for a global customer from my home office in the village.” 

Faster broadband will not only improve profits for UK businesses, but will create an additional 56,000 jobs in the UK by 2024.The work involved in 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.

Current UK coverage of superfast broadband is the highest of the top 5 European economies and we also lead our European counterparts in terms of take up, competitiveness and pricing. But Government recognises that there is still more to do.

Current plans will ensure superfast speeds for 95% of the UK, but Government firmly believes that its transformation of the digital landscape should reach every area of the UK. Focus is now on the “final 5%” – those areas in the most remote and hardest to reach places in the UK that are not covered by existing plans. £10m has been invested in a series of pilot projects currently under way in 8 locations across the nation to investigate the best way of tackling these areas. The findings will be used to inform future funding bids to ensure everyone benefits from the transformation of the digital landscape currently underway.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “More than a million homes and businesses have now benefitted as a result of Government’s investment in superfast broadband.

“It is totally transforming the way we live and work. You can download feature length films faster, chatting online with family and friends around the world using VOIP is more reliable and households can go online simultaneously without the connection slowing down or dropping out.”

“For Businesses, superfast speeds are boosting profits through increased sales, reduced overheads and accessing markets abroad for the first time.”

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss said: “Today’s milestone shows just how far we’ve come in bringing faster, more reliable broadband to communities across the country.

“Thanks to our funding, we’re helping bridge the gap between urban and rural areas, enabling some of our most isolated businesses and communities to grow and thrive.

“This investment will make a real difference to the rural economy, changing the way that businesses and consumers can use the internet and securing a better future for Britain.”

Source: Department for Culture, Media & Sport

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