According to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the government has delivered on its manifesto commitment to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the nation’s premises by the end of 2017. In a press release regarding the development, the DCMS claimed that the achievement had come in part as a result of the state spending GBP1.7 billion (USD2.4 billion) on rolling out superfast broadband – which it currently defines as a service offering at least 24Mbps downlink – to more than 4.5 million premises in areas deemed ‘not commercially viable’, the majority of which are in rural areas. Further, the DCMS has suggested that the narrowing of the digital divide has also delivered a ‘significant’ boost to local economies, creating around 50,000 new local jobs and generating an additional GBP8.9 billion in turnover in the areas covered by the Government rollout between 2013 and 2016.
Detailed figures published by ‘thinkbroadband’ suggest that 27.471 million premises in the UK now have access to a service offering at least 24Mbps, while 27.377 million premises can take up a plan which provides connectivity at 30Mbps. Meanwhile, ultrafast broadband (i.e. speeds of 100Mbps or more) is said to be available to 15.396 million homes and businesses, or 53.3% of the population, though pure fibre access – e.g. fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) – still remains limited, with only 3.4% of premises (979,453) within reach of such technologies.
Commenting on the matter, DCMS Secretary of State, Matt Hancock was cited as saying: ‘Over the last five years, the government’s rollout of superfast broadband has made superfast speeds a reality for more than 4.5 million homes and businesses who would otherwise have missed out. We’ve delivered on our commitment to reach 95% of homes and businesses in the UK, but there’s still more to do in our work building a Britain that’s fit for the future. We’re reaching thousands more premises every single week, and the next commitment is to making affordable, reliable, high speed broadband a legal right to everyone by 2020.’