New figures indicate that the availability of what is deemed to be “superfast broadband” has increased from 94.7% in December to 95.1% by the end of Q1 2018.
A large proportion of this growth is being put down to a variety of publicly funded initiatives.
The initial 76% of superfast internet coverage was achieved through roll-outs from internet giants Virgin and BT with a small amount contributed from independent ISPs. Most of the last 25-30% however has been made possible by £1.6bn of investment from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme, much of which has been matched by broadband operators.
The government aimed to have 95% of the UK connected to “superfast broadband” by the end of 2017 and were just shy of that target until now. New deals and contracts currently underway are expected to extend superfast coverage to 98% by the end of 2018.This will leave 2% of the country still left in the cold and it is expected that they will be catered for by the government’s Universal Service Obligation although this is still being finalized.
Each different region of the UK has different targets relation to broadband connectivity and each of these will lead back to the UKs overall target. Wales for example hopes to connect each premise with 30Mbps+ by 2020 while Scotland is hoping to achieve the same thing by 2021. Northern Ireland is an example of a region that is find it difficult to hit it’s target of 24Mbps+. However, the recent deal between the government and the DUP which is worth around £150m is expected to help remedy this.