£10m fighting fund to get superfast broadband to final 5% announced
The adage of repeating something so that people become aware of it is a distinct mantra for Government infrastructure spending and thus after the original announcement of £10m for superfast broadband investment in the final 5% most rural parts of the UK in December 2013, the DCMS has announced the amount again.
The new fund opens on 17th March 2014 and its aim is slightly different to the RCBF, as rather than help communities with small projects it is meant to showcase systems that will scale to address the final 5%. The actual examples given are:
- Using 4G mobile signal to deliver ‘fixed wireless’ superfast broadband’.
- Using fibre direct to premises.
- Taking fibre from broadband cabinets to a distribution point further down the network, increasing speeds by reducing the reliance on copper.
- Satellite technology
The 4G mention is no surprise, but it does seem limiting as there are many wireless protocols that can offer fixed wireless. The need for projects to produce something that can scale will most likely rule out many community schemes which often rely on unpaid work from a couple of people to drive them forward.
It is not clear what changes the BDUK has made to the system for identifying the final 5% that this new £10m fund is designed to help, the same problem faced by the old RCBF scheme that existing BDUK projects have not finished planning their delivery phases will be the first hurdle that needs to be solved if the scheme is to be more than a PR exercise.
The news in the DCMS press release is that the BDUK now has a new Chief Executive in the form of Chris Townsend OBE, he was Commercial Director on the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, but has worked at Telewest, Sky and the BBC in the past. The Financial Times is reporting an annual salary and bonus package of £200,000 for the new chief exec.