Friday, 20 May 2011

£50 million Broadband fund

£50m fund will bring superfast broadband to 800,000 homes

The Daily Telegraph printed an article on March 5th outlining the governments plans for superfast broadband across the UK.

Up to £800,000 homes and businesses could benefit from superfast broadband funded by a £50million fund announced yesterday by George Osborne. The money is to be made available to local authorities in an effort to improve internet speeds across Britain.

At the end of last year the Government committed £830 million of public money over the next seven years to ensure superfast broadband connections will be installed in every community by 2015.

Yesterday's announcement marks the first tranche of that investment to be released. Over the next four years the Government will make a further £530 million available, rolling out high-speed internet to areas where the market alone would not reach. A £300 million from the television license fee has been committed for post-2015 work. Just 0.2 per cent of the country currently has access to superfast fixed broadband networks.

The fibre optic upgrades will allow internet service providers to routinely offer packages with speeds of up to 100 megabits per second.

Speaking in Bristol, where the Chancellor was visiting Hewlett Packard, the technology company, he said: "Broadband is crucial for the country's economic future; that's why the coalition Government is investing over half a billion pounds in its infrastructure. We want to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 and today's £50 million will benefit up to 800,000 homes and businesses. This is very much a locally driven process and we encourage bids from all local people with plans for improving broadband in their local area."

Today, Mr Osborne will also announce the creation of a series of Enterprise Zones designed to encourage businesses to set up outside London. Businesses that choose to relocate will be subject to lower taxes and less bureaucracy, the Chancellor will say at the start of the Tory Party Spring Conference in Cardiff.

There will be at least 10 zones, costing £100 million. Local authorities will be able to keep business rates raised within the zones. They are similar to successful projects championed under Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, such as the Canary Wharf development.

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