UK to re-invest £645m into superfast broadband rollout programme

UK to grant over £95m to support first wave of full-fibre broadband projects

A total of up to £645m will be made available in the coming years to help take superfast broadband to the most remote parts of the UK.

Most of the money, which will come from BT, has been set aside as take-up of superfast services has been higher than anticipated.

As per a clause in the government’s contracts, suppliers should recycle funding when people take up superfast connections installed as part of the programme.

More than 4.5 million premises across the UK now have access to superfast broadband, of which over two million homes and businesses have already signed up for superfast connections defined as speeds of at least 24Mbps.

This has led BT to set aside £465m to expand coverage over the full lifetime of the contracts, up from £292m in December last year.

Another £180m has been made available from efficiency savings made during the programme. This means up to £645m will available for local authorities to re-invest and take superfast speeds to those homes and businesses not already covered by existing plans.

Of the total amount, more than £200m has already been committed to projects to expand superfast broadband.

UK fastest, cheapest broadband according to report

The £645m boost will help take superfast speeds to a further 900,000 properties by the end of this year – and superfast coverage to 98% of the UK in the next few years.

UK Minister for Digital Matt Hancock said superfast broadband has now been brought to about 94% of homes and businesses, and the government is on track to reach 95% by the end of the year.

Hancock said: “The money that is now being returned to the programme for reinvestment will help us reach that final 5 per cent, and is all part of our commitment to make sure that 100 per cent of the UK can get affordable, fast and reliable broadband by 2020.”