The UK government is seeking comments on how to spend its planned GBP 1 billion Next Generation Fund.
First unveiled last summer, the fund will be used to bring next-generation broadband services to rural and under-served areas of the country, with the goal of 90 percent of the population able to access the faster services by 2017. The fund will be financed by a tax of GBP 0.50 on fixed-line subscriptions, for which legislation is pending. The government expects the market will deliver the faster broadband to around 60-70 percent of the country, and wants the public fund to support the roll-out of fast networks in other areas.
The consultation published by the department for business innovation and skills is seeking feedback on a number of issues, with responses due by 1 April. Questions include minimum requirements for next-generation access and services, estimated costs of roll-out for different technologies, whether to distribute funds on a regional or national level and in what areas of the country, models for distributing the state aid, possible market-distorting effects of the aid, and obligations on deployed networks such as clawback of funds or open access.