Government launches consultation into Next Generation Fund
Peter Mandelson kicks off 12 week consultation with telecoms about how best to meet the 2017 next-gen broadband target.
The business secretary Lord Peter Mandelson has launched a 12 week consultation with telecommunications companies and internet providers, which aims to finalise how proceeds from the Next Generation Fund should be spent. The fund, one of the key recommendations of last year’s Digital Britain report, will be paid for by a 50p per month landline duty, to be collected annually. The Next Generation Fund aims to support the report’s proposal to roll out a ‘super high-speed’ broadband network to at least 90% of the UK’s population by 2017.
According to a statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, relying solely on private sector investment would only see a next-generation broadband network reach up to 70% of the population by that time. The fund would also help secure a further key recommendation of the Digital Britain report, establishing a base universal broadband speed of 2Mbps by 2012.
Several technologies are being looked at to achieve the aim of 2Mbps broadband in rural areas of the country, including satellites, mobile broadband, and BT’s ‘Broadband Enabling Technology’ (BET).
Launching the consultation, Lord Mandelson said: “This investment is about bringing the future of broadband to areas of the country that would otherwise miss out. We cannot underestimate the opportunities this will bring for homes and businesses which is why we are taking action to make sure everyone benefits.”
“Already the market is delivering superfast internet speeds of 50Mbps to half the country but we cannot be certain that it will reach the communities that are not currently served, which is why we are putting in an extra £1billion to support the market.”
“By upgrading our networks we will put the UK at the fore of rapidly developing technologies which will bring jobs, boost business potential and grow our digital economy.”