Government reiterates plans for ‘best broadband’ by 2015

Jeremy Hunt

The UK is still on track for the best broadband in Europe by 2015, claimed the Government minister responsible for the pledge.

Jeremy Hunt, minister for culture, media and sport, is today unveiling plans albeit similar to pledges made earlier this year for everyone in the UK to have a minimum of 2Mbps connections by 2015.

This is a much longer period than was set out by the previous Government which pledged 2Mbps for all by 2012 but Hunt claimed the money to fund such a scheme wasn't there when he came into power.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "When I arrived in office, one of the first things that the officials told me was that there was only half the money necessary to deliver on that 2012 target."

"They had allocated 230 million to this project. That has now gone up to 830 million."

The extra money will come from the TV licence pot, which had spare cash left over from the Digital Switchover campaign.

As well as creating digital hubs to help get fibre to even the most rural of communities, 50 million of the fund will go towards trialling new methods to roll out broadband.

The key to achieving the 2015 target, however, was still to garner investment from the private sector.

"I think the Government has a very important role to catalyse investment by the private sector," said Hunt.

"If you look at countries like Korea, which has probably the best super fast broadband network in the world, 90 per cent of the investment came from the private sector and just 10 per cent from the Government."

He concluded: "What we have to do is use the very limited funds that we have available in the current climate to really stimulate as much investment as possible by the private sector."

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.