Next generation fund launched UK to benefit from billion pounds investment in super-fast broadband
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Issued 07 January 2010
Rural communities and hard to reach areas who do not have access to next
generation broadband will benefit from a share of £1billion of Government
investment said Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson today.
The investment will upgrade the UK’s digital infrastructure to bring
super-fast broadband to 90% of the country, essential if the UK is to remain
globally competitive as estimates suggest that private investment will only
reach up to 70% of the population by 2017.
The Next Generation Fund will provide the UK with a world class
communications network to bolster innovation and services in digital
Launching a consultation on how proceeds from the Next Generation Fund
should be spent, 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.”
Areas with little or no broadband provision are likely to benefit from
the investment with Ministers determined to ensure that homes and businesses
in hard to reach communities are not left behind.
The objectives of the Next Generation Fund are:
To support Digital Britain’s aim to roll out next generation networks to
at least 90% of the UK by 2017;
To support economic growth by incentivising market investment in
communications infrastructure to meet the needs of businesses and
To maximise links with the Government’s Universal Service Commitment – a
parallel broadband investment programme to ensure every community has access
to 2Mbps broadband connection by 2012.
Government is now consulting on the most effective way to deploy the
investment and will soon appoint a procurement team to oversee the delivery
and management of Next Generation Access.
The consultation paper outlines the high-level benefits next generation
broadband offers, including:
Telemedicine: provides real-time interaction between doctor and patient
so consultation and even examinations can be undertaken online. This brings
huge benefits particularly for the elderly and those who live in rural
Teleworking: uses two-way video conferencing to facilitate working from
home. Brings social and economic benefits to those who are less mobile such
as people with disabilities and single-parents. Teleworking also has
potential environmental benefits by reducing carbon emissions through
decreased traffic congestion.
Cloud computing: enables businesses to use the internet to store and
access software and data and share resources. Results in a lower carbon
footprint, less investment in computing equipment, access to cost effective
technology solutions that can be used quickly, cheaply and less
Faster upload and download speeds, and greater reliability and
consistency will bring higher productivity, increased innovation, boost
e-commerce and provide greater consumer choice and access to time-saving
The consultation considers issues that will inform the role of the
procurement team. These include ensuring there is competition within new
networks to drive consumer choice and drive down internet service prices;
whether the Fund should be deployed nationally, regionally or locally; and
the best options for procurement.
As announced in the Pre Budget Report the ‘Next Generation Fund’ will be
raised by a duty of 50p on all fixed lines as previously announced in the
Digital Britain White Paper.
The Government is also today publishing its growth strategy, Going
for Growth, outlining a strategic approach to boost the UK’s public
finances through sustainable growth.
The consultation on how the Next Generation Fund will be spent can be
found at: http://www.berr.gov.uk/consultations/page54155.html
A further consultation on how the fund will be raised was published by
the Treasury on Friday, 11 December and can be found at: http://hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_landlineduty.htm
The consultation has been issued to various stakeholders across the
telecommunications and internet provider industry. They have 12 weeks in
which to respond.
The recommendations for the Next Generation Fund made in the Digital
Britain Report, published in June 2009: http://www.bis.gov.uk/building-britains-digital-future
Digital Britain is the government’s vision of an economy and society where
core working activities are based around knowledge, skills and information.
It represents an ambitious and strategic plan to accelerate growth in the
digital industries and cement the UK’s position as a world leader for
innovation, investment and quality.
The Next Generation Fund builds on the Government’s Universal Service
Commitment which will deliver access of 2Mbps broadband to the whole country
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a
dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business
success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone
the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster
world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing
in our future.
About the Author
© Crown Copyright. Material taken from the Department for
Business, Innovation & Skills. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-01-08 06:32:51 in Tax Articles