The government has revealed that 273,731 properties in rural areas can now access superfast broadband services for the first time, thanks to its £1.2bn investment.
The Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) said the figure, dated from the last day of 2013, represented a significant acceleration of the rollout programme, after it had risen from 111,968 at the end of September 2013.
Given that some 10,000-25,000 properties are being hooked up to networks every week by BT engineers, the total number of properties online is now likely to be even higher, with the DCMS claiming it could be as high as 300,000.
In total, 1,000 superfast cabinets have been brought online and the UK now has more active high-speed connections than Germany, Spain and Italy, and more than double that of France, the DCMS said.
Culture secretary Maria Miller said superfast broadband services are vital to businesses and the UK economy, and proof that the money was being well spent.
“Having superfast broadband is really important to people up and down the country, whether they need it for work or simply to download music or films," she said.
"These figures prove that there is now a real momentum with thousands of homes and businesses now getting access each week. This is part of our long-term economic plan and broadband will be instrumental in driving growth and boosting local economies throughout the UK.”
The government is hoping to have 95 percent of the nation hooked up to superfast services by 2017. It has put £10m aside to test rural broadband technologies such as 4G and satellite connections in order to ensure everyone in the UK is covered.
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