The UK should have the fastest broadband network of any major European country by 2015, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced.
The Government is investing £530 million in taking superfast broadband to all parts of the UK by the end of this Parliament.
“In my very first speech as a Minister I said that I wanted us to have the “best” superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015,” said Jeremy Hunt in a recent speech.
“In defining ‘best’ you include factors like price and coverage as well as speed. But over the past two years it has become clear, as Usain Bolt wouldn’t hesitate to say, to be the best you need to be the fastest.
“So I am today announcing an ambition to be not just the best, but specifically the fastest broadband of any major European country by 2015. Indeed we may already be there.”
The £530 million has been allocated to local authorities and devolved governments to help take superfast broadband to rural areas. We want 90 per cent of homes and businesses to have access to superfast broadband and everyone to have access to at least 2Mbps.
Jeremy Hunt revealed 44 out of 46 local authority areas now have broadband plans approved and procurement is expected to be completed across the country by July 2013.
The UK has made good progress on internet speed:
- Average speed in the UK has increased by about 50 per cent since May 2010
- In the last year alone average speed increased from 7.6 Mbps to 9 Mbps, overtaking France and Germany so the UK now has the fastest broadband of any large European Country
- Two thirds of the population are now on packages of more than 10 Mbps, higher than anywhere in Europe except Portugal and Bulgaria
But the Culture Secretary added that we cannot afford to fall behind in providing high-speed internet access: “We simply will not have a competitive broadband network unless we recognise the massive growth in demand for higher and higher speeds.”
Government is also investing £150 million in an urban broadband fund that will give around 15 per cent of the UK population access to ultrafast speeds of 80-120 Mbps along with universal high speed wi-fi.