The UK government announced yesterday that it is extending the timescale for its universal broadband programme. It had been claimed by the previous government that minimum broadband speeds of 2Mbps would be available country-wide by 2012. However, after further consideration, the new culture secretary Jeremy Hunt told the Financial Times that due to a lack of funding it was unlikely the target of 2Mbps broadband for every home could be met until 2015. The newspaper quoted Hunt: ‘By the end of this parliament, this country should boast the best super-fast broadband in Europe and be up there with the very best in the world,’ he said.
Hunt stated that part of the BBC’s licence fee would be used to fund the project, after the government rejected the last administration’s plans for a GBP0.50 (USD0.77) monthly duty on every fixed line to fund the programme. He also said the state will work to encourage operators to share access to their networks. ‘There is currently nothing to stop telecoms or utility companies reaching commercial agreements to share their infrastructure, but very few agreements currently exist,’ he told the newspaper.