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UK Adopts FAST START Initiative to Boost the Superfast Broadband Rollout

Friday, January 25th, 2013 (8:12 am) - Score 880

The politicians responsible for the United Kingdom’s already heavily delayed national roll-out of superfast broadband services now have a new phrase to swing around, “Fast Start”, which will soon be available right across the country. The “new approach” will apparently smooth the deployment of faster connectivity by avoiding further delays.

According to the government’s Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, the “Fast Start” approach is designed to ensure that delivery of the new services are “not hampered” any further by “complications that may arise at individual locations“. Apparently the first area to experiment with the scheme will be Norfolk in eastern England.

The amazing new feat of ingenuity (spoken with not even a hint of sarcasm) is apparently to be achieved by gathering together local representatives from all related parties (BT, council leaders etc.) in order to discuss the roll-out, identify any areas of concern and agree a course of action.

The discussions will apparently focus on a number of key development issues like planning, prioritising street works, improving the power supply to related street cabinets (some cabinets can be very expensive to upgrade), the best biscuit to use with a cup of tea and facilitating overhead lines and access to existing buildings and new developments. The biscuit part may not be accurate.

Ed Vaizey MP, Communications Minister, said:

Norfolk is on track to double access to superfast broadband for homes and businesses, and by having these discussions now, we can help ensure that the people of Norfolk will receive all the benefits that superfast broadband has to offer at the very earliest opportunity.”

Bill Murphy, BTs MD of Next Generation Access, added:

Rolling out fibre broadband across a large, rural terrain is a complex engineering and logistical challenge. Collaborative working is key to understanding and overcoming the challenges associated with a project of this scale, and the Government’s Fast Start initiative is an important step forward in moving Norfolk into the broadband fast lane without delay.”

In case anybody needs reminding. BT and the Norfolk County Council recently become one of the first areas in the UK to sign a new £41m deal, which will help to make superfast broadband (25Mbps+) services available to “more than” 80% of local premises by the autumn of 2015 (i.e. below the UK’s national target of at least 90%).

On the one hand it’s good to see politicians from different parties, and telecoms firms, coming together to discuss the forthcoming deployment strategy. On the other hand we’re surprised that this hasn’t already happened. Similarly we’re certain that no end of people will, in light of all the past delays, point towards the perhaps contradictory nature of calling it “Fast Start“. At least it’s not “Superfast Start” as that would really be taking the mickey.

The Government will next look to adopt this scheme throughout the UK.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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