Press release

Vaizey: Britain’s place in EU ‘top five’ economies for broadband confirmed

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Making a keynote speech at the cable congress today in London, Creative Industries and Telecommunications Minister, Ed Vaizey, heralded news that the UK’s plans to put broadband at the heart of our economic growth agenda, are on track.

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New figures from Ofcom show the UK performing well among major European economies. On all measures of coverage, take-up, usage, price and choice, the country ranks between third and first in the European Union’s five leading economies – the ‘EU5’: France, Germany, Italy and Spain and the UK.

100,000 new homes and businesses are getting access to broadband each week and take up of superfast broadband in the last quarter alone was well over 650,000.

Speaking at the Cable Congress, Ed Vaizey said:

The pace of change is impressive – BT is making fibre available to 100,000 new homes and businesses per week, and combined with Virgin’s upgrade figures, take-up of superfast services in the last quarter alone was well over 650,000.

The UK is already a world leader in the online economy, with the internet contributing more than eight per cent of GDP. Our flagship businesses are tapping into global markets, and our consumers enjoy excellent choice and services when choosing their broadband and phones.

Through this investment, and working in partnership with industry, we will see much faster speeds, millions more homes and businesses able to enjoy these speeds, and a market which boasts high competition and low prices, particularly compared to our European neighbours.

Ed Vaizey continued:

Our aim is to remove the barriers preventing investment and innovation, and demonstrate that Britain is one of the best places in the world to do business online. So we will remove barriers and red tape. We cannot allow rollout to be delayed by planning refusals, or confusion when carrying out street works, or by long running legal issues over access to private land.

Our goal is to provide certainty, to ensure the money invested in rollout is used to take superfast broadband further, not wasted on delays and disputes. It is important that the regulatory framework governing the telecoms sector is fit for purpose and competitive.

Notes to Editors:

A full text of the Minister’s speech is available from the DCMS website.

Today’s report from Ofcom can be found here.

Through an investment programme of £1.2 billion of public money, and through working in partnership with industry, the Government is ensuring:

  • 100,000 more homes and businesses getting access each week
  • 50,000 new superfast connections taken up per week
  • The best internet economy in the world:
    • the UK internet economy is worth £82 billion each year;
    • The internet contributes 8.3% to the UK economy as a whole (the highest proportion for any G8 country); and
    • 71% of the UK population bought goods and services online in 2011 (more than any other country).

By 2015 the UK will have achieved a transformation in broadband:

  • Speeds three times faster: by 2015 average speeds will be three times faster than in 2010, around 15-20 Mbps
  • 10 million more homes and business connected: an increase of 75 per cent
  • Low prices: a highly competitive and low cost broadband market, particularly compared to our European neighbours.

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