It has been revealed that BT has returned £129m to the government after beating its target to supply broadband to rural areas.
John Whittingdale, the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, said: “It’s fantastic to see that the rollout of superfast broadband is delivering for customers and for the taxpayer.” BT was always committed to refunding some of the funds provided for the installation of faster broadband services under the terms of its contract.
The funding was provided as part of the BDUK project, which aims to provide 90% of the country with superfast broadband by the end of next year, see every person in the UK able to access basic broadband by 2016, deliver superfast services to 95% of the country by 2017, and look at ways to provide superfast coverage to the whole country by 2018. BT is also committed to creating 22 ‘SuperConnected Cities’ in the UK by the end of this year and to ensuring that mobile coverage is improved for rural areas by the end of next year.
This funding will be fed back to local authorities to be used to ensure that more residential and business broadband services can be provided. The windfall has arrived much earlier than originally expected; however, it should be noted that there are diminishing returns when it comes to supplying faster residential and business broadband to rural areas due to the increased cost of supplying the infrastructure. It has been suggested that a radio network can be used to supply some services to such areas.