BT is investing £2.5bn to roll-out fibre broadband to around two-thirds of homes and businesses in the UK. This will be completed during Spring 2014. But this isn’t the full extent of our ambition. At BT, our aim is to extend our fibre roll-out to as many UK homes and businesses as possible. To reach the areas that are not commercially viable for BT to invest alone, we believe a public-private partnership approach is needed.
Indeed, the Government has committed £530m public funding to bring superfast broadband to rural areas of the UK between now and 2017. Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) - the Government body responsible for implementing the plans - has allocated these funds to regional authorities across the UK. These authorities are running procurements to select a private sector partner to deliver fibre broadband as extensively as possible to their local communities.
We believe that the Government funding - plus funds from local government and other sources including private sector investment - could see fibre broadband rolled out to more than 90% of UK premises in each devolved nation or local authority area. We are willing to invest further funds - up to £1 billion - should we be successful in winning many of the public funds available.
This means that the number of “slow spots” - where speeds are below 2Mbps – could fall to as little as 2% of homes and businesses. The Government has an ambition to get at least 2Mbps to virtually every premise in the UK and BDUK funds are also designed to help achieve that.
At BT, we’re trialling solutions such as satellite, TV white spaces and wireless to reach the most remote UK premises. It’s our hope that these solutions could see slow spots virtually eliminated.