The Government’s nationwide rollout of superfast broadband has now reached more than two million homes and businesses, figures published today (Monday 9 February) reveal.
As part of this, Merseyside Connected has delivered access to high speed fibre broadband to 28,631 premises across Merseyside.
The Government’s nationwide rollout is delivering superfast access – internet speeds greater than 24 Mbps – to those properties not covered by existing commercial networks and is on track to take superfast access to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017.
Building on commercial roll-out programmes, Merseyside Connected aims to reach 98 per cent of Merseyside businesses and homes by the end of summer 2016. BT is contributing £6 million towards the cost of the project, the Government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is contributing £5.46 million and a further £4.4 million is from the European Regional Development Fund.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Today there are almost 29,000 more Merseyside homes and businesses with access to superfast broadband than there were two years ago as a result of this ambitious project. We want everyone in the UK to be able to enjoy the benefits of superfast broadband, that’s why we’ve begun work on reaching the last five per cent of communities not covered by existing plans.”
Focus is now firmly placed on the hardest to reach areas that make up the “final five per cent” of the UK not covered by existing plans, and Government has already begun work on extending superfast coverage to these communities.
Councillor Gary Millar, former Lord Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet member for business, enterprise and investment, said: “It’s great news that good progress is being made on superfast broadband. This substantial investment is absolutely vital if we are to make sure the city does not get left behind in the race to build technology infrastructure. The aim is to make sure that businesses are able to take advantage of faster speeds which means they have the technology to handle growing needs and enable them to win more business and custom. As well as supporting existing firms, it will also help us attract new businesses to the city.”
Bill Murphy, BT’s managing director for next generation access, said: “Today marks a giant step forward in the rollout of fibre broadband across the UK. In Merseyside, more than 366,000 homes and businesses now have access to high-speed fibre broadband thanks to Merseyside Connected and BT’s own commercial fibre broadband programme.
“Working in partnership with Liverpool City Council and Knowsley, Sefton, St. Helens and Wirral local authorities, we have been able to reach into the heart of communities that have so far been beyond the reach of this vital technology. Already, we can see the impact that fibre is having with the Government’s estimate of more than 56,000 jobs created as a result of this rollout by 2024 and rural economies benefiting by around £9m every day due to the work being done now.
“We are proud to be delivering on our promises and BT’s high-speed fibre network now reaches almost 22 million premises nationwide – around three quarters of the UK – but we recognise there’s more to do.”