Half of UK superfast broadband projects still to start
16 May 2013 Superfast broadband schemes funded by hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are still yet to get underway for many parts of the country, despite a pledge from the government to deliver the best broadband in Europe by 2015.
A total of 22 of 44 schemes, which are receiving 680m from central government, as well as funding from local government and the private sector, have so far entered the delivery phase after West Sussex County council signed a contract with BT yesterday. The schemes have sought to make it commercially viable for companies to deliver broadband to rural parts of the country by partly funding rollout with public money. But delays were encountered as the government’s plans for superfast broadband were scrutinised by Brussels1.
The government has said it will deliver the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 aiming to deliver superfast speeds to 90 per cent of the UK and at least 2Mbps to the remaining 10 per cent. Communications minister Ed Vaizey said the contract signing in West Sussex marked a milestone in the government’s efforts to bring superfast broadband to those areas around the UK where it is currently unavailable. “With 50 per cent of projects now in delivery phase, businesses and individuals will very shortly be enjoying all the benefits that high speeds offer,” he said.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that by 2015 the government will have achieved a “remarkable transformation in broadband”, with average speeds set to be at least three times faster than in 2010 and 10 million more homes and businesses connected with superfast speeds.
Average speeds were also said to have already more than doubled since May 2010, with 100,000 more homes and businesses getting superfast broadband availability each week.
- ^ delays were encountered as the government’s plans for superfast broadband were scrutinised by Brussels (www.publicservice.co.uk)