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May 12, 2011

Government claims super-fast broadband for 90% of UK by 2015

by Darren Allan

The government keeps announcing targets for the UK’s broadband infrastructure, but the key date is 2015, when thus far the powers-that-be have said the country will have the best broadband in Europe.

Whether that goal can be realised is dubious, and certainly a far more realistic aim is for everyone in the country to have access to at least 2Mbps broadband, even those in the most remote hamlets and windswept and corners of the UK.

Speaking at Race Online 2012, Jeremy Hunt has now announced another target, this time that 90% of the country won’t just have 2Mbps, but proper super-fast broadband. Which he defines as 25Mbps or better, incidentally.

The government is subsiding the roll-out of super-fast connections to the final third of the country, the areas which BT and Virgin don’t consider commercially viable to supply. £530 million is earmarked to fund the roll-out to this final third.

Although there will still be 10% of the country left on 2Mbps (or maybe slightly better if they’re lucky) speeds. However, that’s still a massively better broadband picture than the current one.

Meanwhile, one of the key factors for other ISPs in pushing ahead with super-fast is access to BT’s infrastructure, which has been opened up – yet providers have accused BT of greed in their initial pricing terms for access, which are way too high.

Ofcom may have to step in to provide a solution if a sensible market price can’t be agreed, for fear that bickering could delay the roll-out of super-fast broadband further.

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