BT to pay back £129m of broadband subsidies to local councils

Hampshire County Council will recieve money back from BT as take up of Superfast Broadband has exceeded expectations. Under the terms of the contract, the higher than expected demand for Superfast Broadband access means BT will return up to £129m to local and central government.

BT said: “It will still be many years before we recover our investment.”. The company says that once the rollout is complete it will have spent more than £3bn to upgrade the UK's broadband network.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport commented: "the Government welcomes BT’s news today that the company will make up to £129m available to extend the Government led roll-out of superfast broadband. The funding will be made available to local authorities to reinvest the money in providing further superfast broadband coverage to even more homes and businesses and much earlier than originally planned."

John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, said the funds could be reinvested to further increase superfast broadband coverage.

Gavin Patterson, BT’s chief executive, said: “BT’s fibre network is accessible to more than 23 million premises. Four out of five UK homes and businesses can access it and 4.6m are now connected. We’ve hit our original take-up assumption and have rolled out ahead of target and on budget.”

The Hampshire Superfast Broaband programme has some of the highest take up in the country, with Basingstoke’s Rooksdown ward the highest in the county at 68%. This is followed by Hatch Warren and Beggarwood Ward (49%) and Bramley and Sherfield Ward (48%). 

Take up is crucial as it allows the County Council’s “gainshare scheme” to kick in - the more residents that sign up for superfast broadband once it is available, the more funding the council can claim back from BT to reinvest in the final 5%, the county’s hardest-to-reach areas. Residents are encouraged to use our website's postcode checker for updates on rollout timescales and also to register via our website to recieve an email update when Superfast services become avaliable in their area. 

Read the full article here: The Daily Telegraph 

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