LONDON Dec 22 Britain will spend 440 million
pounds ($544 million) to roll out superfast broadband to 600,000
extra homes and businesses in rural areas that suffer from poor
coverage, the government said on Thursday.
In a bid to boost the economy during Britain's negotiations
to leave the European Union, Prime Minister Theresa May's
government has targeted faster broadband networks, particularly
in rural areas.
The new cash will come from funds returned by telecoms firm
BT after strong take-up in the first phase of a
government-backed programme to improve connections, as well as
efficiency savings, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
said on Thursday.
The government has provided 1.7 billion pounds to help boost
broadband speeds in remote parts of the country where it is not
profitable for commercial providers to invest alone.
It said more than 1.5 million homes and businesses had
signed up for superfast broadband under the scheme, enabling it
to claw back 292 million pounds of funding from BT.
The rest of the extra money would come from savings across
the 44 projects in the first phase of the roll out, it said.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said people in rural areas
needed to sign-up to the scheme to unlock extra funding for more
"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 (Broadband Delivery UK) areas, money is clawed
back to pay for more connections," she said.
($1 = 0.8091 pounds)
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Mark Potter)