Superfast final 5% set to be final 3% as over £200m clawback confirmed
The Telegraph has published an article written by Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for the Digital Economy that puts the Government on record as saying the clawback money from the existing BT contracts will be used to push beyond the existing 95% superfast coverage target by the end of 2017 target.
We believe that at this time the actual money available (and some projects have already allocated and announced their intentions since the first clawback figures in July 2015) is some £229m and this should increase is take-up continues in the various BDUK project areas BT has the contract for and with Gigaclear and CallFlow working on phase II projects now we might even see clawback mechanisms kick-in from them too.
We were already expecting to see coverage reaching around 96% and with the extra clawback amounts quietly released in the last couple of quarters 97% should be no great surprise, but given the degree of negative news coverage on the superfast coverage figures the Government and all broadband providers need to do their part to ensure that people do not just see the negative press and thus not bother to see if they can upgrade. The final figures will be difficult to predict as a lot depends on how far the Virgin Media Project Lightning goes and the success the KCOM Lightstream roll-out and smaller projects like the UK Broadband 4G Fixed Wireless for North Swindon which is set to launch (no price details yet even though just days from launch), plus other initiatives led by district councils and communities themselves.