UK debates high-speed broadband funding

Rollout of high-speed broadband in the UK will begin this week, but in the conference room rather than the fiber ducts.
The government will ask telcos and service providers for their views on how to deploy Web access to all homes in the country during a summit on Thursday, which will also be used to discuss rollout of super-fast broadband, the Guardian reports.
Around two-million homes still lack even basic 2MB broadband access, despite BT’s ADSL network offering 99% coverage, with a further 160,000 residences unable to access any broadband services at all.
The government has pledged to bring 2MB connections to all homes by 2012, and will use the meeting to seek views on how to pay for deployment of high-speed networks, the Guardian said.
Rollout could be part-funded by the BBC’s license fee, after the previous government’s plan to fund rollout by taxing landlines was scrapped last month.
A pre-election manifesto from the Conservative party – the majority partner in the UK’s new coalition government – promised to deploy 100Mbps access to most homes in the country.
Virgin Media plans to launch 100Mbps services by the year-end, while BT aims to deploy high-speed service to 10 million homes by 2012.