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Gov't group to oversee roll-out of 100Mbps broadband

Report shows 'broadband tax' needed to hit targets

The government has set up a new group in a bid to ensure the whole of the UK, including rural areas, has access to 100Mbps broadband.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) was created following the results of a report by AnalysysMason that revealed a third of UK households will be unable to access 'next generation' broadband in the future.

"This report makes clear that without public intervention, some rural areas and less well off communities will be left behind and unable to reap the economic, health and education benefits super fast broadband offers," said Minister for Digital Britain, Stephens Timms.

Stuart Burgess, the government's rural advisor, added that the lack of broadband and mobile phone coverage in rural areas is hampering young people when it comes to education and job hunting.

"Digital technology offers major hope for rural people and businesses - creating a new way to access services, socialise and take advantage of e-enterprise," said Burgess.

"For rural young people, exclusion is a double blow. First, schools and colleges expect students to get internet help with homework. Second, they are excluded from text messaging and online networking."

The government plans to offer broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps to the whole of the UK by 2012, and to ensure 90 percent of homes can access superfast broadband by 2017.

The AnalysysMason report revealed that the so-called 'broadband tax', which will see Brits with a telephone line forced to fork out £6 per year to pay for the roll-out of the fibre-network that allows for superfast broadband access, will ensure that government hits its 2017 target.

However, if the network upgrade is left to ISPs, such as BT and Virgin Media, only 70 percent of the UK will have 100Mbps access by 2017.

"Our proposed £1 billion Next Generation Fund will help bring the benefits of super fast broadband to more communities," said Timms.

See also: Govt backtracks on 2Mbps broadband promise

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