BBC hands over £300m licence fee cash to boost UK's super-fast broadband coverage

BBC hands over £300m licence fee cash to boost UK's super-fast broadband coverage

Summary: The BBC will contribute £300m towards the rollout of super-fast broadband in rural areas of the UK, but has come under fire from the Federation of Entertainment Unions for committing to provide the cash

TOPICS: Broadband

The BBC has confirmed that it will contribute a total of £300m towards the rollout of super-fast broadband in rural areas of the UK.

The BBC is to pay £12.5m a month to help fund super-fast broadband rollout in the UK. Image credit: m0gky/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The £300m will be paid to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) between 2015 and 2017.

The funds will go towards achieving the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) scheme's goal of providing super-fast broadband connections to 90 percent of UK premises and a minimum of 2Mbps to all homes.

"Starting in April 2015, the BBC will pay the Department of Culture, Media and Sport £12.5m a month for two years," the BBC said in a post on its Ariel blog.

While the agreement stems from terms introduced when the licence fee was renegotiated in 2010, the organisation was under pressure from the Federation of Entertainment Unions to scrap the agreement and not fund any infrastructure projects.

Public funding

The Communication Workers Union welcomed news of the BBC's commitment to providing cash for the rollout but added that the organisation shouldn't be expected to foot the bill alone.

"Research shows that more public funding will be required to get faster broadband out to rural and remote areas, and the BBC should not be expected to carry this cost alone," Andy Kerr, deputy general secretary of the union, said in a statement.

Kerr contends that, as other commercial operators will also benefit from improved broadband infrastructure, they too should have to put contribute towards its rollout.

"They will rely heavily on having access to a high-speed broadband network to distribute their services and it would be fair to ask them to contribute to the cost," he said. "Commercial broadcasters will benefit from using a network built by public funds to deliver highly profitable premium film and sport at exclusive prices."

Topic: Broadband

Ben Woods

About Ben Woods

With several years' experience covering everything in the world of telecoms and mobility, Ben's your man if it involves a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other piece of tech small enough to carry around with you.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Just like the banks.

    Use public money (you need a TV license in the UK if you watch live TV, even if you don't watch BBC) to feather the nests of private organisations.

    But then, like the shitty rail network, that's the just the British way.
    • Public money

      Public money made the internet possible in the first place.
      • NASA $$$$$$

        And the US space programme, which propelled US companies to the for in microelectronics at a cost of tens of billions of $$$$$ of taxpayers money.

        The US rail network is pretty shitty too.
  • Towns like Tavistock

    Tavistock is not in any BDUK, Connecting Devon & Somerset funding. I expect DCMS will be able to bypass Towns like Tavistock with the wholly rural element that it entrusts to BDUK. Tavistock is not on its own - I have asked Geoffrey Cox MP to raise this plight in the House of Commons. I await a reply.
    Tavistock Superfast Broadband
  • Convergence

    Clearly the Federation of Entertainment Unions don't have a very clear vision of where things are going in their own industry. If they did, I don't think they would have an issue with BBC funds going towards distribution channels for future programming.
    • Yes

      Yes, it would have been nice for the article to explain why the Federation of Entertainment Unions was opposed to the project. As it is, I, as someone unfamiliar with the background can only guess (are they a union representing the Television industry? Do they feel threatened by broadband internet? Maybe, but I shouldn't have to guess. It should be in the article.)
  • Don't think the BBC had much choice

    I don't think the BBC had an awful lot of choice in the matter, politicians thought in error broadband delivery was brosdly a similar thing as digital terrestrial TV.
  • And Another Thing

    I am sooooo sick of you Apple fanboys, drooling over the "next big thing" when most of it has already been invented by Samsung, HP and Google and is probably sitting somewhere in Best Buy right now! Of course no one will ever buy them because Apple's massive marketing dollars have pushed anything non-fruit-like out of the way to the lower shelves and back-wall displays where consumers rarely look. So go ahead and overpay for your iGadgets like the lemmings you are, I'll stick with choice and value, thank you very much. And another thing...wait, hold on...I think I'm replying to the wrong post...
    Mark Lechman