UK seeks rural broadband boost
More than half of a UK fund established to boost broadband coverage will be spent on providing services to rural parts of the country.
Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday revealed that £363 million (€TK) of a £530 million investment pot has been allocated to boosting deployments in remote areas that may otherwise be underserved, as the country seeks to hit a goal of providing basic broadband access to 90% of the population by 2015.
The investment aims to spur local councils into action by matching the amount allocated by the government from their own coffers or by accessing European Union funds.
“[S]ome areas of the UK are missing out, with many rural and hard-to-reach communities suffering painfully slow internet connections or no coverage at all,” Hunt comments, adding. “Fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth.”
The government is aiming to provide a minimum 24Mbps service to two thirds of UK homes by 2015, with remaining properties covered by services offering at least 2Mbps. However, an £830 million scheme to boost fiber deployment has been criticized for relying too heavily on investment by incumbent BT, which analysts fear could stifle competition.