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Support for Governments GBP150 Million Urban Broadband Fund Divides UK

Monday, April 16th, 2012 (7:46 am) - Score 460
uk internet statistics

The results from 872 respondents to our latest monthly reader survey has revealed how more than half (51.7%) support the government’s plan to spend £100 Million (Urban Broadband Fund) on improving superfast broadband services in some of the country’s largest cities, yet only 10% felt that £100m would be enough to do the job properly. A further £50m has since been added, but this will only help “smaller cities“.

The UBF ultimately aims to support the delivery of “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 (full details). This will start with the main capital cities of Edinburgh (Scotland), Belfast (N.Ireland), Cardiff (Wales) and London (England). But our readers are split over how the money should be used.

Is the government right to boost superfast broadband in cities with £100m?
No – 48.1%
Yes (but £100m isn’t enough) – 41.7%
Yes (£100m is enough) – 10%

Given the choice, how would you spend that £100m?
Boosting rural broadband – 62.2%
In cities as intended – 18.9%
Cut the country’s deficit – 11.1%
Spend it elsewhere (not broadband) – 7.6%

On this issue our readers initially appear to be split right down the middle. 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 government’s 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, which is something that we covered last week as part of a special editorial. Never the less it’s still difficult to understand the government’s decision to intervene in places that the private sector could arguably resolve by itself.

This month’s new survey asks whether or not broadband ISPs done enough to protect children online? Vote Here.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Many urban areas are in dire straights – at the end of long lines that twist round estates and up and down streets. The only solution is fibre to every property, recycle the copper and get NGA to everyone. The £100 million must go into fibre, and not into cabinets. It matters not where it goes, all people are equally important, but in urban areas there is a lot of profit to be made, and as such should not need funding. My twopennorth into the pot. Light blue touch paper and retire…

  2. Avatar New_Londoner

    The problem with saying “fibre is the only option” is two-fold: firstly it is relatively expensive to put in, especially in urban areas, so the £100m would not go very far; secondly the average speeds achieved for FTTC show that the statement is patently untrue. Apart from that….

  3. Avatar DTMark

    I still remain unconvinced that there’s any need for any taxpayer funding to be injected into any networks in order to achieve the best broadband network in Europe; indeed the BDUK programme and this method of delivery is almost certain to achieve the exact opposite.

    Hence my answers were “No”, and “Cut the country’s deficit”.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @DTMark
      Fair enough, but which countries have achieved deployment of FTTP at any scale without substantial public funding? Remember the UK will have mainly FTTC to about two thirds of properties by 2014 without any public funding (ignoring the aberration that is the so-called “digital region”, Cornwall which is separate from the two thirds coverage).

      You and others seem to want FTTP and to a much greater % of the population, if not 100%. The BDUK money if to get faster broadband to much of the final third, is not even close to the level to get FTTP to 100%. How will this happen any time soon without public funding?

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