The government cobbled together Super Switch On Day as BDUK superfast rural broadband funding lights up fibre for 200,000 premises.
Super Switch On Day marks the day when BT Openreach engineers powered up streetside fibre broadband cabinets for an additional 5,000 homes and businesses in Wiltshire & South Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent & Medway, Cheshire, the Cotswolds and Shropshire.
The cabinets have all been paid for by the Broadband Delivery for the UK scheme, with cash from the government, European Union, local councils and BT itself.
“We’re determined to ensure that everyone benefits and that broadband is available in the very hardest-to-reach areas of Britain, making a real difference to people who live in these communities,” said culture minister Maria Miller.
“Today’s “switch on” of cabinets across the country takes us yet another step closer to fulfilling our promise of giving superfast speeds to 95 percent of Britain by 2017.”
BDUK is the government’s scheme to deliver better broadband to locations BT had deemed unworthy of commercial investment without a subsidy. To date, every local BDUK project has been won by BT.
Homes and businesses which don’t receive superfast broadband (originally classified as above 30Mbps, but since reduced to over-24Mbps), should get a minimum speed of 2Mbps although they may have to pay fibre broadband prices for this.
As well as the mass street cabinet switch on, a number of recent milestones were announced: Durham celebrated its first cabinet going live on December 17, and Burnley in Lancashire has seen a number of cabinets going live.
The Connecting Devon and Somerset project has switched on the next cabinet in their roll-out programme, delivering superfast broadband for the first time to hundreds of properties in Cotford St Luke, Somerset. The Cumbria and Suffolk projects have now reached 10,000 premises and Norfolk has passed 17,000.
The government said that the national rollout is accelerating, with many projects already ahead of schedule: 10,000 premises per week are already gaining access to superfast broadband, which should increase to 25,000 per week in spring 2014, ramping up to 40,000 per week by summer 2014.
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