Review of government plans for new superfast broadband

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A new ISPreview.co.uk survey of 872 internet access subscribers in the United Kingdom has revealed how more than half (52%) of respondents support the government’s plan to spend £100m on improving superfast broadband services in some of the country’s largest cities, yet only 10% of the 52% felt that £100 Million would be enough to do the job properly. A further £50m was recently added, although this will only help “smaller cities”.

The Urban Broadband Fund aims to deliver “ultrafast” fibre optic based 80-100Mbps+ (Megabits per second) broadband services to ten large UK “super-connected cities” and a further batch of “smaller cities” over the next three years, starting with the main capital cities of Edinburgh (Scotland), Belfast (N.Ireland), Cardiff (Wales) and London (England).

However, when given a choice of alternative options, some 62% of respondents said that they’d rather put the £150m towards boosting broadband in poorly served rural areas and only 19% would spend it in cities as intended. A further 11% would have used the money to help cut the country’s deficit and just 8% would spend it on something else entirely (i.e. not broadband or cutting the deficit).

“On this issue the country initially appears to be split right down the middle,” said ISPreview.co.uk’s Founder, Mark Jackson. “But, when given a choice, most people still think that the new funding would be better spent upon improving internet access in poorly served rural areas, as befits the governments original focus.”

“At the same time we shouldn’t forget that poor broadband connectivity is by no means isolated to rural areas and many urban locations also suffer from similar problems. But it’s still difficult to understand the government’s decision to intervene in places that the private sector could resolve by itself,” concluded Jackson.