Superfast broadband for 600,000 homes and firms in connection not-spots

Around 600,000 extra homes and businesses in broadband not-spots are in line for superfast services, the Culture Secretary has announced.

Some £440m will be used to connect properties in the hardest-to-reach parts of the UK under the Broadband Delivery UK programme (BDUK), Karen Bradley said.

The cash is made up of £150 million in savings from "careful contract management" and £292 million released through a clawback system that re-invests money when people take up superfast connections installed under the scheme.

Ministers set up the BDUK project to provide superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by December next year.

Ms Bradley said: "Our Broadband Delivery UK programme is giving families and businesses in hard-to-reach areas the fast and reliable internet connections which are increasingly at the heart of modern life.

"Strong take-up and robust value-for-money measures mean £440 million will be available for reinvestment where it matters - putting more connections in the ground.

"This will benefit around 600,000 extra premises and is a further sign of our commitment to build a country that works for everyone.

"We have made great progress but there is still more to do.

"Broadband speeds aren't boosted automatically - it needs people to sign up. Increasing take-up is a win-win-win: consumers get a better service, it encourages providers to invest, and when more people sign up in BDUK areas, money is clawed back to pay for more connections."

A BT spokesman said: "We're delighted that the success and efficiency of our delivery will mean hundreds of thousands more homes and business could get faster broadband than originally expected.

"BT has been investing billions of pounds into the UK's digital infrastructure over the last decade and, whilst more than nine out ten premises can order a fibre service today, our Openreach engineers are still working hard to bring superfast speeds to the country's remaining not-spots.

"This a huge success story for the UK and shows exactly what can be achieved through close partnerships between the public and private sector."