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August 12, 2015

BDUK chalks up 3 million superfast broadband connections

Government delivery programme reaches 482,000 Welsh premises and 394,177 in Scotland.

By Alexander Sword

The Government’s superfast broadband rollout has now reached three million homes.

The rollout, which delivers internet speeds of 24 Mbps or over to properties not covered by existing commercial networks, aims to take access to 95 percent of the UK by 2017.

Government figures showed that the largest number of connections by the project in a region had been made in the South East, with 531,093. The East of England and North West had figures of 391,095 and 384,667 respectively.

Wales has had 482,000 new premises connected, while Scotland has had 394,177.

The announcement of Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK)’s progress comes as BT makes up to £129 million available to extend the rollout, having exceeded take-up targets ahead of schedule.

The Scottish cabinet announced that Scotland will see £18 million of this money, which will be invested in accelerating the rollout in remote areas as part of the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband rollout.

Frenando Elizalde, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner, comments on the rollout:

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"It’s been successful in regards that three or four years ago we were quite behind compared to other countries."

The project has "achieved a lot in quite a short period of time", Elizalde adds.

However, he argues that rural areas remain underserved by broadband.

"At the same time, we have to solve the issue of remote areas. Today it’s very difficult to have a business without very high-speed access. Devon is not that remote and they don’t have access. There are important pockets that are not well served."

Research from the County Councils Network (CCN) found that most councils believed the gap between cities and the countryside was closing, however. 81 percent of respondents in a March survey agreed with the statement that the gap was closing with cities.

The BDUK project has also seen accusations from the Public Accounts Committee that it is not sufficiently competitive, granting an effective monopoly to BT in rural areas. The CCN survey found 29 percent of respondents believing that the market and delivery process were sufficiently competitive, with 44 percent believing it was not.

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