The UK government has received the go-ahead to pump £530 million into improving the country’s rural broadband performance.
The Telegraph reports that plans for the upgrade were initially submitted to European officials back in January, but that the UK has had to wait for European Commission approval to unlock the money due to state aid regulations.
As it pans out, approval has been granted a month ahead of schedule.
Now that the money has been released, the UK government will commission BT to undertake a major overhaul of broadband in key rural territories where businesses currently refuse to operate owing to poor internet connectivity. This process will start in Wales and Surrey, followed by Cumbria, Rutland, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller explained the thinking behind this rural broadband overhaul. “Finally getting the green light from Brussels will mean a huge boost for the British economy. Superfast broadband is essential to creating growth, jobs and prosperity,” she said.
The initiative is part of a wider scheme to create “the best broadband network in Europe.” As Miller explains, “Our broadband plans are hugely ambitious – to connect 90 per cent of homes to superfast broadband and ensuring the rest have access to at least 2Mbps.”
Things aren’t just set to improve at the low end of the broadband spectrum, either. Back in August then-Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed that 60 per cent of the UK will have access to next generation FTTH (Fibre To The Home) broadband by 2016.
Coupled with the UK government’s plans to have 98 per cent of the country covered by a new 4G mobile network by 2015, we seem to be entering a new age of high speed connectivity here in Blighty.
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