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Gov't to spend £830m bringing superfast broadband to UK

Every Brit will have fast net access by 2015

The government will spend £830m on bringing superfast broadband to every community in the UK by 2015.

In the Britain's Superfast Broadband Future plan, which has been published by Culture Minister, Jeremy Hunt, much of the money will come from the BBC Licence Fee fund

Hunt said the government hoped to create "digital hubs" in every community, which will be connected to the exchanges by high-speed links and ensure every resident in the community has access to the web.

"A superfast network will be the foundation for a new economic dynamism, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding billions to our GDP," Hunt said.

"But it is not just about the economy, around the world there are countless examples of superfast broadband helping to build a fairer and more prosperous society, and to transform the relationship between government and citizens."

Private companies, including ISPs such as BT and Virgin Media, will be responsible for creating digital hubs across two thirds of the UK, while the government funding will be concentrated on the remaining areas, the majority of which, are rural.

The government also revealed £50m of the funding has been earmarked to conduct further trials into delivering superfast broadband in rural areas. In October, the government announced North Yorkshire, Herefordshire, Cumbria and the Highlands, would be the first areas to be given superfast broadband in trials of new technology.

"We will be inviting local bodies and devolved administrations right across the UK to propose new testing projects in April of next year, with a view to making a final selection in May," Hunt is expected to say when announcing the plan later today.

According to Rural Affairs Secretary Caroline Spelman, bringing superfast broadband to rural areas is "probably the single most important thing we can do to ensure the sustainability of our rural communities in the 21st century".

Hunt's proposals will; go someway to ensuring Britain has the "best superfast broadband network in Europe". However, Hunt said a minimum speed would not be the only factor by which creating the best network would be judged.

"In order to determine what constitutes 'the best' network in Europe, we will adopt a scorecard which will focus on four headline indicators: speed, coverage, price and choice," Hunt said.

"These will be made up of a number of composite measures rather than a single factor such as headline download speed."

See also: BT: Gov't needs £2bn to enable super-fast broadband


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