Bumper day for Rural Broadband

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

December 18
09:25 2013

Rural communities around the UK have received an early Christmas present today, with the switching on of broadband cabinets in areas across the nation, giving local homes and businesses access to superfast broadband speeds for the first time.

An additional 5000 homes and businesses in towns and villages in Wiltshire & South Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent & Medway, Cheshire, the Cotswolds and Shropshire now have access to superfast broadband speeds as a result of the Government funded nationwide deployment currently underway. Super Switch on Day sees the first cabinets in a number of projects go live, and the total number of premises expected to have access to superfast speeds by Christmas as a result of the rollout now exceeds 200,000.

Bumper day for rural broadband

Superfast speeds at home means everyone in the family can do their own thing online, all at the same time, whether its downloading music in minutes or watching catch-up TV; streaming HD or 3D movies in the few minutes it takes to make popcorn; or posting photos and videos to social networking sites in seconds. For businesses benefits include the ability to video conference (saving huge travel expenses) and new markets opening up for even the smallest business, who could find themselves going from village market stalls to global exporters with relative ease.

Super Switch on Day marks the enormous progress made during 2013 there are now real results being seen on the ground as hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses gain access to superfast Broadband. The national rollout is accelerating, with many projects already ahead of schedule. 10,000 premises per week are already gaining access to superfast broadband, and this will increase to 25,000 per week in spring 2014, ramping up to 40,000 per week by summer 2014. This builds on the commercial roll out by the private sector, with combined figures from Ofcom showing that in June 2013, some 73% of UK premises could already connect to superfast broadband.

The Government is well on track with its commitment to deliver superfast broadband to 95 per cent of the UK by 2017 through a transformative infrastructure project that offers excellent value for taxpayer money (a net return of 20 for every 1 spent.) It forms part of the Governments complete overhaul of the UKs infrastructure to give us every possible advantage when competing in the global race.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Maria Miller said:

We are now witnessing an incredible transformation of superfast broadband in Britain, and we are already well ahead of other major European countries in many respects. Were determined to ensure that everyone benefits and that broadband is available in the very hardest to reach areas of Britain, making a real difference to people who live in these communities. Todays switch on of cabinets across the country takes us yet another step closer to fulfilling our promise of giving superfast speeds to 95% of Britain by 2017.

In addition to cabinets going live, a number of projects around the UK have also announced significant milestones for their projects, including:

  • Durham celebrated its first cabinet going live yesterday

  • Cumbria and Suffolk projects have now passed the 10,000 premises mark

  • Norfolk has announced its just passed the 17,000 premises mark

  • Burnley in Lancashire also received a boost today, with a number of cabinets going live, providing access to superfast broadband to hundreds more local homes and businesses

  • The Connecting Devon and Somerset project have switched on the next cabinet in their roll-out programme, delivering superfast broadband for the first time to hundreds of properties in Cotford St Luke, Somerset

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said:

The roll-out of superfast broadband has the potential to transform rural areas, bridging the age-old gap between rural and urban. It will allow businesses to grow and expand and communities to access services in a way that theyve not been able to before.

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