BT Reinvests 292 Million Pounds Government Subsidy in Broadband
The U.K. government is clawing back 292 million pounds in subsidies from BT to reinvest in spreading super-fast broadband connections to businesses and homes in remote areas, according to Bloomberg. Under a contract with the government, BT receives taxpayer funds to support the rollout of super-fast broadband, with speeds of 24 megabits per second or more, but returns some of the subsidy when more customers than expected take up the service.
The clawback from BT and savings from efficiencies in the delivery of the program release 442 million pounds to be reinvested in broadband, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said in an e-mailed statement. The program “is giving families and businesses in hard-to-reach areas the fast and reliable Internet connections which are increasingly at the heart of modern life,” Bradley said. The reinvestment “will benefit around 600,000 extra premises.”
The U.K. government has promised to prioritize connecting rural areas with super-fast broadband, and made subsidies available because providers said installing infrastructure in remote locations was too costly. Ministers are seeking to link 95 percent of homes to the network by 2017. The government said about 1.5 million homes and businesses signed up for fast connections in areas where it has subsidized the rollout. “We have made great progress but there is still more to do,” Bradley said. “Increasing take-up is a win-win-win: consumers get a better service, it encourages providers to invest.”