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Good progress is being made with the government-funded rollout of super-fast broadband in rural areas, it has been claimed.

Simon Towler, Head of Spectrum, Broadband and International ICT Policy at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), defended the scheme against criticism from the media and MPs.

The £530 million initiative has received its fair share of negative press, owing to the absence of competition for BT - the sole bidder for tenders - and apparent lack of progress in some regions.

But speaking at a Westminster eForum, Mr Towler said the current programme being delivered by BDUK and local authorities is "going well".

As reported by PC Pro, he noted that 42 out of the 44 BDUK projects have now completed procurement, and more than 100,000 rural premises have gained access to super-fast broadband to date.

Mr Towler revealed the pace of the rollout programme will increase over the next six months.

He explained that the number of properties passed by the super-fast broadband network should soon rise by 10,000, then 25,000 and ultimately by 40,000 per week by summer 2014.

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