Government tells ISPs to sort out super-fast broadband
The Government will today thrust the onus of providing nationwide super-fast broadband onto Britain’s ISPs.
Speaking at a broadband summit in London, Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt will tell ISPs they need to find innovative solutions to bring high-speed broadband to the ‘final third’ of the country.
“I will bring together the key industry players who can help deliver this,” Hunt told the BBC. “I now need them to work together on solutions and tell us what we can do to help make this ambition a reality.”
Today not having broadband makes people feel deprived
That Government help is unlikely to be provided in the form of hard cash, however. The coalition Government scrapped Labour’s plans to pay for nationwide super-fast broadband with a landline levy, that would have seen a 50p-a-month charge added to telephone bills.
But with the Government coffers almost empty, Hunt is unlikely to offer the industry substantial funds to encourage fibre broadband rollouts in Britain’s most rural areas.
This could create a tense stand-off with leading ISPs, with BT today warning that up to £2 billion of public money would be necessary to deliver nationwide fibre broadband.
“As a society we need to make our minds up about what is an essential element of our social fabric,” BT Openreach CEO, Steve Robertson, told the BBC. “Today not having broadband makes people feel deprived.”
BT has promised to reach two thirds of the country with its fibre broadband rollout, but claims there’s no economic case for reaching the final third using private investment alone.