Government promises “super-fast broadband” for all
The Prime Minister has promised to deliver “super-fast broadband” to the entire country by 2020.
The Government had already committed to bringing next-generation broadband to the vast majority of the country by 2017, using the 50p landline tax that was introduced in the Digital Economy Bill. It now appears the Government will spend three years mopping up the 10% or so of the country that won’t be connected by 2017.
It’s not clear exactly what speed Mr Brown’s “super-fast broadband” will actually achieve, but the Prime Minister promised the network will reach “100% of homes” by 2020.
The Conservatives have pledged to deliver 100Mbits/sec broadband by 2017 by relying on private investment, but the Prime Minister claims that will create a digital divide.
Faster broadband speeds will bring new, cheaper, more personalised and more effective public services to people
“We can allow the market to provide a solution on its own terms and according to its own timetable,” said the Prime Minister. “The result would be super-fast broadband coverage determined not by need or by social justice, but by profitability.
“The alternative is our vision: ensuring, not simply hoping for, universal coverage.”
Mr Brown also hopes that widespread broadband coverage will lead to cost savings of £11 billion across Government. “Faster broadband speeds will bring new, cheaper, more personalised and more effective public services to people,” he said.
The Government has given Sir Tim Berners-Lee a £30m budget for an Institute of Web Science, which will aim to make Government data more readily available online.