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UK government delays universal broadband rollout

16 июля 2010

The U.K. coalition government on Thursday pushed back its target to roll out minimum 2-Mbps broadband speeds to the whole country until 2015.

"Last month I announced that we were supporting the universal service level of 2 megabits as the very minimum which should be available," said culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, in a Financial Times report.

"I've looked at the provision that the previous government made to achieve this by 2012 and, as I'm afraid with many schemes they announced, I'm not convinced that they put sufficient funding in place," he said.

Now Hunt has set a target of rolling out 2-Mbps broadband connection speeds to every home by the end of the current parliament – 2015.

"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.

The last government proposed as part of its Digital Britain Report in June 2009 to introduce a 50 pence monthly duty on every fixed line. The new government last month confirmed that it would not implement this new tax.

Hunt on Thursday said the government will instead divert a portion of the BBC's licence fee towards funding network deployments, and urged network operators to share access to their infrastructure with one another, or face government intervention. He also reiterated plans to force BT to open up its cable ducts to rival telcos.

"There is currently nothing to stop telecoms or utility companies reaching commercial agreements to share their infrastructure, but very few agreements currently exist," said Hunt, in the FT report.

However, BT warned in a separate report by the BBC that up to £2 billion of public money will be needed to fund the rollout of broadband networks to the whole of the U.K.

"As a society we need to make our minds up about what is an essential element of our social fabric," said Steve Robertson, CEO of BT Openreach, in the report.

"Today not having broadband makes people feel deprived," he said.

BT currently plans to invest £2.5 billion to provide two thirds of the U.K. with access to fibre-based broadband services by 2015. Fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) will comprise 25% of the planned rollout, with fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) making up the other 75%.

Источник: Total Telecom

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