Culture secretary announces new money days after Ofcom said 1.4m UK properties still had below-par broadband speeds. The government has pledged to give decent broadband speeds to up to 600,000 homes via a new £400m funding pot.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has freed up the money to help homes and businesses in the “hardest-to-reach” parts of the UK receive broadband speeds considered to be essential to modern life.
The pledge comes less than a week after an Ofcom report found that 5% of UK homes and offices, or 1.4m properties, cannot access broadband speeds over 10 megabits per second.
This is the level that the media regulator considers the minimum to reach a typical household’s digital needs, which it says includes film streaming in HD or viewing Amazon and Netflix TV, watching catchup TV services such as the BBC iPlayer, video calling and basic web browsing.
The DCMS said the £440m come from a combination of efficiency savings and a “clawback” mechanism related to the reinvestment of money when people take up superfast connections installed by the Broadband Delivery UK project.
“Strong takeup and robust value-for-money measures means £440m will be available for reinvestment where it matters,” said Karen Bradley, the culture secretary. “This will benefit around 600,000 extra premises.”
The scheme will deliver superfast broadband of up to 24Mbps , which will allow families to watch TV on multiple devices at the same time or let children do homework while parents do online shopping or banking.
The government says the rollout means that the proportion of the UK population that can get superfast broadband has risen from just 45% in 2010 to 90%. The goal is 97% by 2020.
“We have made great progress but there is still more to do,” said Bradley.