After some of the excitement over the Urban Broadband Fund in the last few Budget statements, there is very little to bring cheer or excitement at the infrastructure level this time around.
A short nod was made during the speech by the current Chancellor George Osborne to broadband with a line 'Government is giving the UK the fastest broadband and telephony in Europe'. Apart from that there was no other mentions, the only mention is buried on page 15 of 17 on the Infrastructure Delivery Update which was published alongside Budget 2013.
4G mobile auction and rollout
- 4G spectrum auction resulted in licences awarded to five companies on 1 March 2013.
- Services using this spectrum expected to be launched from early summer 2013.
Rural mobile coverage (Mobile Infrastructure Project)
- Intend to appoint contractor in early May and have first sites operational in 2013.
- Rolling out rapidly thereafter, with aim of completion by 2015.
Fixed broadband investment – private and public
- Commercial roll-out of superfast broadband covering approximately 100,000 additional premises per week.
- Approximately 15 local broadband projects representing more than 50 per cent of the total programme budget are now under way.
- All project contracts are expected to be in place by end summer 2013.
Urban broadband fund – Super connected cities
- Following on from the announcement that ten cities had been selected as part of Wave 1 at the March 2012 budget, a further twelve cities were announced as part of Wave 2 of the programme at the Autumn Statement on 5 December 2012.
- The £150 million programme is scheduled to deliver ultrafast broadband coverage to households and businesses in high growth areas as well as high-speed wireless broadband by 2015.
- A number of cities are proceeding with procurement whilst Leeds-Bradford has already completed a related wireless service.Extract from Infrastructure delivery update
So no new changes, or extra funding as some thought may happen. Crucially while some sectors of the economy received a longer term focus, broadband infrastructure which underpins the growing digital economy still has a plan that largely runs out in 2015.