Broadband Accessibility and Affordability
According to the UK Government data, broadband accessibility is a greater issue than affordability. Nearly 3 million households and businesses in the UK didn’t have access to broadband speed of minimum 2Mbps in 2010. The Government took a number of measures since then and today, nearly two thirds of UK households and businesses have superfast broadband connections, while the average speed increased for nearly 70 percent in 2012. Furthermore, superfast connections are becoming available to households and businesses at a rate of 100,000 a week.
Goals of the UK Government in Regard to Broadband Connections
The UK Government is aware of the importance of fast and stable broadband connections for both the UK citizens and the economy. But it is also aware that accessibility to fast and reliable broadband connections varies greatly between different parts of the UK, most notably between the urban and rural areas which are currently in a disadvantaged position. The UK Government aims to achieve a transformation of broadband accessibility by 2015, ensuring that everyone in the UK has access to speeds of at least 2Mbps with 90 percent of the population having access to speeds of at least 24Mbps.
By achieving the set goals in regard to broadband connections, the UK will further strengthen its position as a leader in digital economy as well as create new jobs and increase economic growth.
Government Action on Improving Broadband Accessibility and Affordability in the UK
In order for the UK households and businesses to benefit from fast and stable broadband connections and be able to be competitive on a global level, the UK Government has adopted a policy to stimulate investment by the private sector into transformation of broadband connections. The Government has also adopted the Growth and Infrastructure Bill (to be confirmed by the Parliament), according to which broadband companies will no longer need approval from the local authorities for infrastructure such as installation of cables and cabinets. The exception are the Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Other measures to achieve the planned transformation of broadband accessibility by the UK Government include:
- investing over £500 million to encourage commercial investment into increasing broadband speeds and making them available to rural areas
- investing another £150 in the so-called super-connected cities with broadband speeds of 80 to 100Mbps
- removing excessive regulation to facilitate infrastructure development