Broadband should be both superfast and super-flexible, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Google Big Tent conference today.
Mr Hunt said there is a sense that Britain hasn’t quite bridged the digital gap between Europe and the pace setters of the Far East. Citing the UK’s advanced manufacturing capabilities, strong trading links and aptitude for creating digital content, he argued that the key ingredients of success in the digital age are already in place.
“I believe we cannot be a global force in the digital age with the connection speeds we currently achieve,” said Mr Hunt. ”That’s why one of the first ambitions I set out when I entered government was for this country to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe. The faster we can roll-out superfast broadband across the UK, the sooner the next generation of applications will spring up to meet the new commercial opportunities.”
The Government is investing £530m over four years to drive forward the provision of superfast broadband, particularly in rural communities most likely to be on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Mr Hunt also emphasised the need for superfast broadband provision to be ‘super-flexible’, to keep up with the increased use of broadband on-the-move.
“Over the past year, the smartphone market has almost doubled, while tablet sales are set to quadruple over the course of 2011. So when I talk about aspirations for universal superfast broadband, I am clear we must think not only about fixed fibre but also our wireless capabilities.”