All local authorities except two have submitted initial broadband plans on time, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt revealed.
North Tyneside and South Tyneside were the only local authorities that failed to produce plans for taking superfast broadband to homes and businesses in their area.
Five more areas had their broadband plans approved meaning 40 per cent of local authority projects have been given the go-ahead to begin procurement.
The Government has allocated money from a £530 million fund to each local authority in England to help provide 90 per cent of homes and businesses with superfast broadband access and everyone with access to at least 2Mbps.
Local authorities are responsible for leading the broadband roll-out in their area. Councils had until the end of February to submit an initial Local Broadband Plan that details how they will roll-out broadband in their area.
The plans must be finalised and the projects ready to begin procurement by the end of April. The Government will look at running a national project covering any areas that fail to meet the timetable.
Mr Hunt said:
“We set a demanding timetable and I’m pleased that we are making such fast progress. Virtually every local authority is on track to roll out superfast broadband. But we cannot afford to relax – we must continue to drive forward with taking superfast broadband to all areas of the UK.”
North Tyneside and South Tyneside have told the Government they will achieve 90 per cent superfast broadband coverage through other means and have expressed no interest in using their allocated funding to go further.
Mr Hunt said:
“North and South Tyneside seem blithely confident they will deliver world class digital infrastructure – I just hope they are not being complacent. No one in the UK can afford to slack on making sure we have the best broadband network in Europe upon which so many of the jobs of the future depend.”
Details of the progress made by England’s 45 broadband projects have been published today and 18 have now had their local broadband plans approved.
The latest areas to have their broadband plans approved are:
The Government’s timetable requires local authorities to complete their broadband plan by the end of April and finish procurement by the end of the year. All authorities except North Tyneside and South Tyneside are rated as ‘high confidence’ the deadline for having their plans approved will be met.