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National superfast broadband plan lights up 1.5 million UK homes and firms

Over 1.5 million British homes and businesses are now making use of next-gen broadband services thanks to the government’s superfast scheme. 

The BDUK (Broadband Delivery for the UK) project aims to have 95 per cent of premises able to order superfast broadband – 24Mbps and above – by 2017. 

Roughly 80 per cent of UK properties can now order superfast broadband according to the government. 

With an average of 40,000 additional properties added to the superfast footprint each week, the government says BDUK is the fastest broadband upgrade scheme in the world. 

Culture secretary Sajid Javid said: “I’m delighted that the project has now reached more than 1.5 million homes and businesses, giving people much faster and reliable connections. 

“We know how important superfast broadband is to everyone, which is exactly why we are investing £1.7 billion in this remarkable project. Our transformation of the UK’s digital landscape is progressing at an incredible rate and delivering a tremendous boost to the nation’s economy as part of the government’s long term economic plan.”

BDUK was set up to allow local authorities to invite companies to bid for contracts to connect around 90 per cent of properties to superfast broadband. BT ended up winning every BDUK contract – something helped by sole remaining bidder Fujitsu pulling out – and has been getting on with making FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) broadband available to millions of homes. 

Previously, BT had sunk £2.5 billion of its own cash into upgrading two thirds of its Openreach network. Thanks to this and a combination of BDUK projects, superfast broadband is available in around 19 million premises. 

Commercial expansion by other ISPs including Virgin Media, Hyperoptic, CityFibre and Gigaclear have also played a part in superfast broadband reaching more people. Further out in the margins, grassroots networks like B4RN, B4YS and Fibre GarDen are connecting (or planning to connect) customers to ‘hyperfast’ broadband, delivering download speeds of up to 1Gbps (1,00Mbps). 

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