CLA damns Government broadband plans


The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has condemned the Government's broadband plans as not going far enough, especially for rural areas.

Lord Mandelson has assigned 1 billion to invest into next-generation broadband across the country via a 50 pence a month broadband tax on landlines.

The CLA has welcomed the funding but it believes it will still leave 10 per cent of the country left out of the technological advancement and these areas will most likely be rural.

William Worsley, president of the CLA, said in a statement: "The CLA has been calling for Government investment into the UK's broadband infrastructure since 2002, and welcomes Lord Mandelson's acknowledgement that without direct government investment people in rural areas without broadband access will lose out once again."

He added: "However, as the Government itself admits, only nine-tenths of the country will benefit from next-generation-access or superfast broadband by 2017. What will happen to the remaining 10 per cent who are inevitably going to be in remote rural areas?"

Worsley believes it could cost up to 15 billion to get fibre to every home in the country so he is calling for the private sector and public sector to work together on providing it.

For now though the CLA believes the main focus should be on achieving the promise of 2Mbps to all household by 2012.

"We are calling on Government to adopt the Prime Minister's own view that broadband is a vital public utility," added Worsley.

"This can only be achieved through putting in place legal guarantees that 2Mbps will be available to all by 2012 through a legally binding Universal Service Obligation."

A 12 week Government investigation into the next-generation broadband plans was launched yesterday as it tries to push through the new plans before the next election.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.