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Sparse News for Broadband in the UK Governments Budget 2013

Wednesday, Mar 20th, 2013 (2:10 pm) - Score 472

The Chancellor of the UK government, George Osborne, today set out his annual Budget 2013 report but unfortunately anybody expecting to hear about new funding or pledges for broadband and related projects will be left to feel very disappointed. But there were still a few small bits and pieces of information.

So far the government has invested around £1bn into its efforts to ensure that 90% of people across the United Kingdom can access a superfast broadband (24Mbps+) connection by 2015 and to boost faster 3G and 4G mobile coverage around the country.

The existing investment also includes projects such as the £150m+ Urban Broadband Fund (UBF) for expanding the coverage of “ultra-fast” broadband (80-100Mbps+) and “high speed” public wifi services into neglected areas of 22 large and smaller cities (here and here).

On top of that there’s the £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP), which aims to help “at least” 98% of UK people gain access to a Mobile Broadband service by the end of 2017. Not to mention the £20m Rural Community Broadband Fund (RCBF) and other smaller schemes. Beyond that there was very little new to get excited about from today’s announcement, bar a few small points.

The UK Budget 2013 – Broadband Highlights

* There is talk about a “reprofiling of funding for broadband programmes”, to support local delivery but no specifics to clarify whether or not this merely refers to the existing approach (most likely).

* Post the 4G auction and as part of its commitment to release 500MHz of extra mobile/radio spectrum by 2020, the Government has promised to look to introduce “further financial incentives” to ensure more efficient use and management of public sector spectrum holdings. No details.

* The Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) should have a contractor appointed “in early May” 2013 and have “first sites operational in 2013” (aim of completion by 2015).

* The commercial roll-out of superfast broadband is apparently covering approximately 100,000 additional premises per week (mostly BT’s work).

* Approximately 15 of the local broadband / Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) projects, representing “more than 50% of the total programme budget”, are now said to be under way. All project contracts are expected to be in place by the end of summer 2013.

No news is good news?

Budget 2013 Report (PDF)

Infrastructure Delivery Update 2013 (PDF)

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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