Press release

Government aims for superfast broadband to reach 90 per cent of homes and businesses

Nine out of 10 homes and businesses in every county in the UK should have access superfast broadband by 2015.

Nine out of 10 homes and businesses in every county in the UK should have access superfast broadband by 2015, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

The Government has allocated £530m to providing the UK with the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

Speaking at today’s Race Online 2012 event, Mr Hunt revealed the Government’s ambitions for providing everyone with broadband access.  All homes and businesses in the UK should have access to at least 2MBps and superfast broadband should be available to 90 per cent of people in each local authority area.

Mr Hunt said:

“If we press ahead with expansion of superfast capabilities, then we can put UK in the global fast-lane.

“If we fail to do so then we apply a handbrake to growth precisely when we need to power ahead.”

The market is expected to provide superfast broadband to around two thirds of the country.  The Government is supporting the roll-out of superfast broadband to the third of UK homes and businesses that would otherwise miss out.

County councils, unitary authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships can apply for a share of the £530m.

They must develop a local broadband plan setting out how superfast broadband access will be rolled-out in their area.

Mr Hunt said:

“We have set aside the money and the expertise to make this happen.

“Now local authorities need to step up to the plate by bringing forward their own plans setting out how they will deliver this level of ambition.”

The Culture Secretary also announced that next month Ofcom will publish a “league table” of broadband performance in each local authority area.

This will be published annually to show how local authorities are progressing in bringing broadband to homes and businesses in their area.

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Notes to editors

Last year the Government announced four pilot areas for rolling out broadband.  On May 27 the Government will announce the successful applications for inclusion in the second wave of broadband projects.  Areas not included in the second wave will not miss out on funding.  A dedicated team within DCMS will work with the all applicants to develop their local plan.  Once the plans are ready, funding will be allocated.

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