Government calls on mobile operators for superfast broadband boost

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The Government is to call on mobile providers to help achieve its goal of offering 98 per cent of the UK's population superfast broadband services by 2018.

According to a report by the Financial Times, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) will gather mobile operators around the table alongside other fixed line broadband providers to ramp up competition for the next phase of its rural broadband rollout.

The Government plans to allocate an extra 250 million to deliver superfast broadband to parts of the country not currently covered by the existing 530 million Broadband Deliver UK (BDUK) project, which aims to cover 90 per cent of the country by 2015.

The BDUK programme has come in for a fair amount of criticism since its creation, with spending watchdog the National Audit Office calling it a flawed, expensive process that has resulted in only BT winning all the contracts so far.

The DCMS hopes this next phase, looked upon as a separate process, will be more competitive and see rural communities being much more involved in the project.

Executives from EE, Three and Vodafone are thought to be attending the meeting, according to the Financial Times report, with 4G networks expected to fill in the connectivity gaps in coverage.

O2 already has a requirement as part of its licence to cover 98 per cent of the UK with 4G networks, although there is no guarantee that coverage will provide speeds fast enough to be considered superfast.

To qualify for funding, 4G operators will need to demonstrate they can attain the minimum threshold for superfast broadband of 30Mbps.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.