Government begins next-gen broadband consultation
The Government has launched a twelve week public consultation on the best way of spending the £1 billion broadband fund that will be generated through its forthcoming broadband tax.
The next-generation broadband fund will be raised by levying 50p per month on all fixed telephone lines, and is intended to bring 2Mbits/sec broadband to 90% of the country by 2012.
Business Secretary Peter Mandelson claims the investment is essential to preserve Britain’s international competitiveness and prevent a new digital divide emerging between those with fast and those with slow connections.
“Already the market is delivering superfast internet speeds of 50Mbits/sec to half the country but we cannot be certain that it will reach the communities that are not currently served,” says Mandelson.
The government estimates private investment already being undertaken by providers including Virgin Media and BT will bring superfast broadband to 70% of the population by 2017.
The consultation invites participants in the telecoms and internet industries to comment on how proceeds from the fixed-line levy should best be spent to achieve that goal.