Policy

Stimulating private sector investment to achieve a transformation in broadband in the UK by 2015

Issue

Fast, reliable broadband internet access is essential for homes throughout the country to benefit from online services, and for UK businesses to compete globally.

Some areas of the UK have access to faster broadband speeds than others, with many rural areas receiving far lower speeds than cities and urban areas.

We want to achieve a transformation in our broadband access, with everyone in the UK able to access broadband speeds of at least 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 95% of the UK receiving far greater speeds (at least 24Mbps) by 2017. We are also exploring options to extend the benefits of fast broadband to remaining areas.

Actions

To make sure everyone in the UK has access to fast, reliable broadband we are:

We are also investing up to £150 million to improve the quality and coverage of mobile phone voice and data services (we call this the Mobile Infrastructure Project).

These changes will reinforce the UK’s position as a leading digital economy and will help to create local jobs and national growth. The government’s own programmes will help to bring broadband to parts of the country that would not otherwise be reached by the private sector.

Background

In June 2010 almost 3 million homes and businesses did not have access to broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps. However, the pace of change since then has been dramatic: 73% of premises now have access to superfast services, and average speeds in the UK have almost trebled between May 2010 and May 2013.

Take-up of superfast connections increased by 650,000 in the last quarter of 2012 (a rate of 50,000 per week), and during 2012 and 2013 the commercial rollout was providing access to superfast services for new homes and businesses at a rate of up to 100,000 per week.

The government is committed to making sure that the benefits of improved broadband services are felt by as many homes and businesses in the UK as possible, to build on the rapid pace of change in the UK’s broadband infrastructure, and to ensure that consumers continue to enjoy high speeds, a competitive broadband market, and attractively-priced services.

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