Broadband Britain to get 2Mbps universal service

Summary:But no gov't cash for next-gen broadband yet...

But no gov't cash for next-gen broadband yet...

The government has revealed plans to create a universal service commitment for broadband that would see every last one of the UK's broadband 'notspots' filled in. However, it has not yet made a decision about whether it has a role to play in delivering 100 per cent coverage of next generation broadband.

The Digital Britain interim report from minister for communications, technology and broadcasting Lord Stephen Carter, published today, calls for every home in the country to be broadband-enabled by 2012.

According to the EU, four per cent of homes in rural areas of the UK are not within reach of broadband access.

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However, only 56 per cent of UK homes had a broadband connection last year, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

Under the plans set out by Lord Carter, all Britons would be guaranteed a connection speed of up to 2Mbps "delivered by a mixture of fixed and mobile, wired and wireless means".

The call for more widespread broadband has already received some industry backing.

Strategy and markets development partner for Ofcom, Peter Phillips, told a conference last week: "It's even more important [than a next-generation rollout] to ensure that all UK residents have access to high-speed broadband."

Chief executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, Anthony Walker, also believes the question of availability must be dealt with.

"Where possible it is now time to address those 'notspots' in terms of availability and I think that's really on the basis that broadband is increasingly being seen as a basic utility for households, both in terms of the benefits of connectivity and also things like access to services such as BBC iPlayer and others," he told recently.

The report also details the government's intention to tackle 'broadband refuseniks' - those people who can get fat pipe access but for whatever reason choose not to - by encouraging the development of "public service champions of universal take-up".

On the issue of next-generation broadband, however...

Topics: Networking

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