The government is still confident that 90 per cent of the UK will benefit from superfast broadband by the end of 2015, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has claimed.
In a debate at the House of Commons, Mr Vaizey said that many of the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) projects are currently running ahead of schedule, with others not far behind, which keeps alive hopes that nine in ten premises in the UK will be able to take advantage of superfast 25MB services by the target date.
The debate arose after the government itself admitted that the current pace of developments would only result in 88 per cent of premises receiving access to superfast services by the end of 2015, with the remainder following in early 2016.
Such a shortfall would not be catastrophic, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, but it would put the government behind its additional target of ensuring that 95 per cent of the UK had superfast broadband access by December 2017.
The latest Ofcom study estimates that three-quarters of the country currently has access to 25MB broadband services or faster, while a separate Point Topic has predicted that coverage will be closer to 91 per cent by the end of 2015.
However, Mr Vaizey said that these reports are being overlooked by MP committees such as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and National Audit Office (NAO), which are instead focusing on stalled aspects of the BDUK scheme.
"The PAC gave us a good going over two or three weeks ago about the quality of our broadband rollout and I vehemently disagree with everything they said," he commented.
"BDUK and BT have already reached around 200,000 premises, we’re passing 10,000 a week and by next spring we will be passing 40,000 a week. We hope to get to 90 per cent by early 2016 but given half the projects underway are already ahead of schedule, I think we might get to our target of 2015."
He reiterated that the government is focused on increasing UK broadband provision, by revealing that the coalition is aiming for 99 per cent of the country to have superfast broadband access by the end of 2019.