Government confirms £230m broadband investment
With the governments spending review due to be released on Wednesday, setting out the four year plan of how public spending will be focused (cut), it comes as good news that George Osborne has set out plans to help keep investment going to broadband.
The government have decided not to cut back on the digital switch-over underspend which was promised to be used as investment into faster broadband services, and £230m will be used to help 2 million homes in rural areas get access to better broadband speeds by 2015. Thankfully, the Chancellor sees broadband as a way to invest in the future, making the country stronger further down the line.
The next big step is to ensure that this funding is spent wisely, and that will largely come down to Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), a department set up within the department for Business, Innovation and Skills. One of their aims is to ensure that through an efficient use of funding, the country can deliver the best superfast broadband in Europe, including to rural areas.
Private industry has already shown that next-generation broadband to rural areas, often referred to as the 'final third' can work, particularly with community involvement (for example, Rutland Telecom's fibre deployment in Lyddington). With central government pushing the idea of 'Big Society', an idea to encourage people to get more involved in their communities, some joined up thinking from BDUK could help nurture this idea and save money in the process of helping to deliver vital broadband services to areas that need it.