The Government welcomes BT’s news today that the company will make up to £129m available to extend the Government led roll-out of superfast broadband.
The funding will be made available to local authorities to reinvest the money in providing further superfast broadband coverage to even more homes and businesses and much earlier than originally planned.
The money is being made available as a result of a clause in the contracts BT agreed with governments and local authorities that allows the funding BT has received to be returned or reinvested into further coverage if take-up is better than the 20 per cent* expected in BT’s original business case. The high take up rate to date has resulted in BT making a new business case assumption of reaching 30 per cent take-up in these areas.
John Whittingdale, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:
It’s fantastic to see that the rollout of superfast broadband is delivering for customers and for the taxpayer. The Government was clear from the start that as levels of people taking up superfast broadband went beyond our expectations in areas where we invested public money, BT would reimburse the taxpayer for reinvesting into further coverage across the UK. This now means that BT will be providing up to £129m cashback for some of the most hard to reach areas.
Our £1.7bn superfast broadband programme is on track to reach at least 95 per cent of the UK by 2017, and it is great to see homes and businesses making the most of everything that superfast speeds have to offer.
Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT, said:
Seven years ago, in the depths of recession, we embarked on our multi-billion pound fibre investment to bring faster broadband speeds to the UK.
BT’s fibre network is accessible to more than 23 million premises. Four out of five UK homes and businesses can access it and 4.6m are now connected. We’ve hit our original take-up assumption and have rolled out ahead of target and on budget. This is a real success story for the UK.
We are delighted to be able to share that success by making up to £129m available to extend the roll-out to more BDUK homes and businesses, earlier than planned and at no extra cost to the taxpayer.
BT will work with local bodies over the coming months to identify where these funds can be provided early to enable the local bodies to invest in increased fibre coverage sooner than would previously have been the case.
Notes to editors:
Media enquiries – DCMS News and Communications team – 020 7211 2210 or out of hours on 07699 751153.
*This 20 percent take-up rate was based on international comparisons and BT’s experience in its own commercial roll-out.