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UK plugs in £442m broadband fund

Funding from government subsidies and BT are set to finance superfast broadband covering 90% of the UK.

A subsidy scheme run by the UK government has helped it unveil a £442 million ($539.2 million; €516.2 million) funding package that will support the rollout of superfast broadband across the country.

The government’s Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme launched in 2013 will provide £150 million for the scheme and telecoms giant BT will unlock an extra £292 million from government subsidies to fund the connections. Since 2010, BT has been paid by the government to install superfast broadband where the roll-out of infrastructure has been slow.

The government said the extra funding would allow another 600,000 homes and businesses to be provided with new broadband connections, ensuring 90 percent of the country can now benefit from the technology. BT is aiming for 95 percent to be connected by the end of next year.

“We have made great progress but there is still more to do,” said Culture Secretary Karen Bradley. “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.”

Funding for better broadband access forms part of the UK’s recently released £500 billion National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline. The European Investment Bank also recently launched a broadband fund to be managed by Cube Infrastructure, for which it is aiming to garner €500 million at first close.