Government tells ISPs to crack on with rural broadband

The coalition has laid out the first steps for super-fast broadband across Britain, saying that the private sector must lead the effort

Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt has revealed the first small steps the coalition government is taking on the road to a super-fast broadband Britain — and reiterated the message that it will be expecting industry to do the heavy lifting.

"A genuine and long-lasting economic recovery must have its foundations in the private sector," Hunt told an industry event in London on Thursday. "When it comes to super-fast broadband, there is no question that the markets must lead the way."

Fibre is one technology suitable for delivering super-fast broadband. However BT's current fibre broadband investment roadmap will only see it take super-fast access to two-thirds of the nation by 2015. The telco has said its coverage will not extend beyond that without some form of public sector funding support.

The government wants industry to suggest regulatory changes that might help super-fast broadband extend out to commercially unattractive areas. It has launched a consultation — which runs until 16 September — asking industry to consider how infrastructure sharing could help and the main barriers to it, and whether the ability to share utilities infrastructure would help reduce the rollout costs of superfast broadband.

For more on this story, see Superfast broadband: Whitehall tells ISPs to crack the rural problem on silicon.com.

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