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Interest is soaring in a government scheme that aims to provide UK businesses with greater accessibility to superfast broadband.

According to Communications Minister Ed Vaizey, 24,000 businesses are now benefiting from the £150 million Super Connected Cities Programme, which offers vouchers providing access to up to six times faster broadband speeds for organisations in a number of cities across the country.

Before the General Election, the Coalition came under fire for allegedly not spending much of the money allocated to the project, but Mr Vaizey has moved to quash those claims and insists that investment and subsequent take-up is high.

"The super connected cities vouchers scheme has now taken off like a rocket, with 24,000 businesses now benefiting. In fact, we are going to spend the money by the end of this year," he explained.

Under the terms of the project, money will be provided to cover the often substantial cost of construction and the introduction of wireless aerials.

The government has pledged to deliver speeds of between 80-100Mb to 1.7 million households and 200,000 premises by 2015, and although the initial take-up indicates that this target is still some way off, Mr Vaizey has offered assurances that it is now accelerating at pace.

In addition, the scheme is complemented by the Broadband Delivery UK project, which has increased the proportion of homes and businesses with access to 2Mb broadband or greater to 97%, up from less than 90% in 2010.

"We hope that all homes will have it by the end of 2015. We should also have 90% superfast broadband coverage in the UK, which compares well with almost every other country and puts us at the top of the tree of the big five in Europe."

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