The UK Government has revealed plans to spend £830 million (€979m) in an effort to give the UK the best broadband network in Europe by 2015.
An action plan – Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future – published by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, sets out the ambition to create a ‘digital hub’ in every community in the country by the end of this Parliament. The hubs would be linked to the nearest exchange by high-speed connections, allowing communities to extend the Internet to every home. Fibre upgrades would allow Internet Service Providers routinely to offer packages with speeds of up to 100 megabits per second.
Hunt said: “A superfast network will be the foundation for a new economic dynamism, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding billions to our GDP,” noting that “around the world there are countless examples of superfast broadband helping to build a fairer and more prosperous society, and to transform the relationship between Government and citizens.”
Ministers will invest £50 million in a second wave of pilot projects to test how digital hubs can be extended to all communities, including those in remote rural areas.
There will be moves to cut the costs of access to communications infrastructure and new awards of 800MHz and 2.6GHz spectrum to allow the development of next-generation mobile services.
Rural Affairs Secretary Caroline Spelman said that rolling out superfast broadband to the countryside was “probably the single most important thing we can do to ensure the sustainability of our rural communities in the 21st century”.