An extra £440m is to be spent on providing up to 600,000 UK homes and businesses with superfast broadband, the government announced today.
According to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport, more than £150m has been saved across 44 projects in the first phase of the Broadband Delivery UK scheme. This saving is to be invested in rolling the project out to more properties in the hardest-to-reach parts of the UK.
The government claims 1.5 million homes and businesses have signed up for superfast connections in areas where it has subsidised rollout. To build upon this, BT has now said it will allocate £292m for extra connections.
Ash Phillips, CEO of YENA, which connects young entrepreneurs and ambitious professionals, said the announcement spells good news for the nation’s startups.
@emilyspaven few limitations on tools/resources means quicker development & more disruption by smaller/younger companies than ever before.
— Ash Phillips (@TheAshPhillips) December 22, 2016
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John Miles, co-founder and CEO of Health & Parenting, agreed with this sentiment.
“Superfast Internet connectivity is crucial for our UK tech sector and for people working remotely,” he said.
“As a digital health company we work a lot with freelance parents. Bringing superfast broadband into remote areas widens the pool of highly talented professionals that we and other tech companies can tap into. Workers are no longer held back by technology and can instead achieve a work/life balance that works for them,” Miles added.
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Tom Redmayne, director of business development UK at WiredScore, highlighted Ofcom’s Connected Nations report recently revealed that 5% of homes and small businesses in the UK are still unable to receive download speeds greater than 10Mbit/s. With this in mind, he said it’s clear this latest investment in the superfast broadband roll out is sorely needed.
“However, beyond merely laying down more connections, more must be done to ensure that superfast services are affordable. Many small businesses who do have access are then priced out of enterprise broadband solutions, forcing them to use residential services with low and/or unpredictable speeds,” he added.
Redmayne suggested the government could bring back the Broadband Connection Voucher Scheme and work with small businesses to educate them on the value of using this to buy enterprise-grade broadband services.
“This will ensure that our businesses are equipped to thrive in the digital economy,” he concluded.