The government has said that three million premises can now access superfast broadband thanks to funding provided under the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme.
The milestone figure has been achieved six months after hitting the two million mark, and the government said that it is confident of hitting the target of 90 percent superfast broadband coverage by 2015 and 95 percent by 2017 as a result.
The government provided a breakdown of the numbers of homes that have been connected in various parts of the UK, included below.
- North East - 124,299
- Yorkshire and the Humber - 295,235
- North West - 384,667
- East Midlands - 338,709
- West Midlands - 220,624
- South East - 531,093
- South West - 311,758
- East of England - 391,095
- Scotland - 394,177
- Wales - 482,000
- Northern Ireland - 41,652
Culture secretary John Whittingdale described the figure as a huge achievement, saying that take-up by homes and businesses is exceeding expectations, as noted by the recent return of £129m by BT to the government owing to high take-up.
“Reaching three million properties is a huge achievement. Our rollout of superfast broadband is transforming lives up and down the country as every day thousands more homes and businesses gain access to superfast speeds,” he said.
BT has led the rollout of these projects through its Openreach division, and BT chief executive Gavin Patterson praised the role of its engineers in achieving this milestone.
“Our Openreach engineers have worked tirelessly to connect some of the most remote parts of the UK, from Shetland and Hebrides to the moors of south west England,” he said.
Despite the positive tone the government has often come in for criticism from those who believe that BDUK has created a monopoly for BT as it is the only firm that has won any of the contracts up for grabs.
No @edvaizey you’ve missed every target on broadband thus far, you’ve granted BT a virtual monopoly and your targets are not ambitious.— Chris Bryant MP (@RhonddaBryant) August 12, 2015
Culture minister Ed Vaizey dismissed these complaints during an interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“I think BT has done a fantastic job,” he said, adding that the three million figure was an "incredible number" that proved the rollout is helping homes and businesses in remote areas that would otherwise have been cut off.
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