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Avanti UK Claims Satellite Can Solve the Rural Broadband Funding Gap

Posted: 20th Jun, 2011 By: MarkJ
ukhylas1 broadband satellite ukAvanti Communications, a UK based broadband Satellite ISP, has today jumped on recent comments made by the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in which he warned that the government only had half of the money that it needed to deploy superfast broadband into rural communities. Avanti welcomes this "candour".

The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, warned:

"Local authorities and the devolved administrations will need to provide the remaining funding from their own resources, European programmes or other funding sources."

The government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) office currently has a budget of £530m, which could rise to £830m by 2017 if necessary. The aim is to help 90% of "people in each local authority area" gain access to a superfast broadband (25Mbps+) service by 2015, with the last 10% having to make do with a minimum download speed of at least 2Mbps.

Avanti's Statement to Government MP's Today

"We greatly appreciate the candour of the Secretary of State's statement on the challenges of rural broadband. Avanti agrees that the Government does not have the funding (and nor should it) to deliver the luxury of subsidised fibre broadband to all, which in our opinion would cost tens of billions of pounds, and is best achieved through the proper operation of supply and demand.

The good news is that the British Government has already partnered with Avanti to create a new generation of satellites which can provide up to 10mb services to ANYONE in the UK today, regardless of location. Thousands of British families are already experiencing the benefits of the Avanti service, launched in April 2011.

In order to avoid social exclusion at the margins of society, Avanti is pleased to work with local and national government to ensure that the neediest members of our rural economies get service as soon as possible, and is pleased to work with the new BDUK framework announced in May which will allocate specific funding for satellite services for the most remote 2% of UK households. We encourage all local authorities to prioritise this, so that the greatest need is tackled first."

It's important to stress that BDUK has always appeared to favour bids that worked on a basis of match funding, where private companies (e.g. BT Group) and local authorities invest around half of what the government puts in. As a result Hunt doesn't technically appear to be saying anything that we didn't already know.

Hunt also noted his intention to announce the funding allocations for each UK region by the summer recess (i.e. those that have put in a bid), which would be significant progress and might appease some of the concerns surrounding the slow pace of actual deployment.
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