More than 2.5 million homes and businesses can now benefit from superfast broadband as a result of the Government’s nationwide rollout.

Latest official statistics show that as of 31 March 2015 an additional 2,411,395 properties are now able to access superfast speeds thanks to the Government’s £1.7bn investment programme.

This means that with the project now reaching an additional 40,000 homes and businesses every week, the 2.5 million mark has been well and truly passed, and is fast approaching the three million premises milestone.

Mr Whittingdale (pictured) met the Superfast Essex team as the rollout in the county reached its halfway point of 32,500 homes and businesses that can now get superfast broadband. The programme is expected to have enabled 65,000 premises by the end of its first phase in summer 2016. Culture secretary Mr Whittingdale, whose portfolio covers the rollout of superfast broadband, joined Essex County Council and BT representatives in Maldon, Essex, on Friday where he heard about the Superfast Essex programme and met officers leading the work. He was also shown one of the 157 fibre broadband cabinets installed by the programme since deployment began in April 2014.

“I am delighted at the tremendous progress Superfast Essex has made with their rollout of superfast broadband,” he said. “Access to superfast speeds has never been more important, in both our home and working lives. The government’s rollout of superfast broadband will make sure that rural homes and businesses are not left behind and that the UK is properly equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age.”

The Essex programme’s milestone comes as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that more than 2.5m homes and businesses in the country can now access superfast broadband thanks to the government’s £1.7bn investment programme.

Access to superfast speeds has never been more important, in both our home and working lives. The Government’s rollout of superfast broadband will make sure that rural homes and businesses are not left behind and that the UK is properly equipped to meet the challenges of the digital age.

Superfast broadband is currently available to more than 80 per cent of homes and businesses in the UK – up from zero in 2009, and the Government funded rollout is on track to ensure 95 per cent of the UK has access to superfast broadband by the end of 2017.

The roll out of fibre broadband in rural areas is getting stronger with every month that passes. Homes and businesses are benefiting across the UK as our engineers work tirelessly to connect them to superfast broadband. This is a critical project that will make a real difference to peoples’ lives and help rural economies thrive across the UK.

Focus is now firmly placed on the hardest to reach areas that make up the “final five per cent” of the UK not covered by existing plans. The Government has already begun work on extending superfast coverage to these communities. A series of pilot projects exploring how alternative technologies could be used to tackle these difficult areas is currently underway and Government will publish the findings from the trials later this year.