The UK Government has announced that its BDUK scheme has put superfast broadband within reach of 2.5 million more homes and businesses.
According to official statistics from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, by the end of March an additional 2,411,395 properties were able to get access to superfast broadband, following the government’s £1.7 billion investment.
With Broadband Delivery UK projects hitting an additional 40,000 homes and businesses a week this adds up to a tally of around 2.5 million all told.
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In addition to the commercial upgrade of BT’s Openreach network, the plan is for 95 per cent of British premises able to order superfast broadband – defined as any service providing download speeds of at least 25Mbps – by 2017.
The great majority of these premises will be able to get an FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) service from one of the many ISPs that make use of the Openreach network, although in some places, customers will be able to order in faster FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) services from BT.
Due to the cost associated with reaching remote and dispersed rural communities, it’s becomes more expensive for BT, which has won nearly all of the BDUK contracts, to reach everyone.
Pilot schemes have been set up to see how families and firms in the final 5 per cent will be reached with alternative technologies including wireless, satellite and 4G broadband.
Such schemes have been underway for some time, which are working towards finding the most practical and cost-effective methods of reaching the most remote hamlets in the country. Satellite, wireless and hybrid technology are all being considered.
The results of the assorted tests and pilot schemes will be published by the government later in the year.