Monday, 1 July 2013
UK Aims for Universal Super-Fast Broadband by 2018
It's becoming more and more apparent that the UK is the place to be in Europe for high-speed Internet and IT technologies. The latest bit of evidence comes by way of an announcement from chief secretary to the treasury Danny Alexander. According to Alexander, the government is committing an additional £250 million to ensure full implementation of super-fast broadband across the UK by 2018.
Alexander said the government would work in partnership with the private sector to ensure connectivity everywhere in the country through a variety of technologies including fixed, wireless and 4G. Making it work will require a significant investment in fibre optics and infrastructure.
What isn't clear is exactly how the money will be spent. Some speculate that any work done will include the current Broadband Delivery UK initiative; another government-sponsored program designed to implement fibre technologies in every area of the country. It seems likely the initiative would have to be part of these new partnerships given the fact that fibre optics is the infrastructure of the future.
The additional funding is good news for an industry trying to stay ahead of the rest of Europe in terms of Internet technologies. Earlier this year we saw a shift of industry focus from the traditional paradigm to the new consumption-based Internet model. Today's Internet access needs to be ready to deal with the onslaught of high-density information via streaming video, online applications, unified communications and the like.
Alexander reiterated the fact that the additional £250 million has been preceded by earlier government investments totalling some £1.2 billion. He said the UK government is committed to universal super-fast broadband across the UK's largest cities, small towns, and rural areas.
The IT industry in the UK welcomes the government's involvement in constructing fixed super-fast broadband. As Mr Alexander so eloquently stated, the UK now leads all of Europe in terms of broadband coverage. The UK system is better than anything found in France, Spain, Italy or Germany.
By committing to super-fast broadband the UK government is forging ahead as a European leader. It goes hand-in-hand with similar strategies designed to bring the country into the 21st century in terms of cloud computing. All over the UK, technology is accelerating at a phenomenal rate.
All of this is good for the overall UK economy, individual businesses and even consumers. What's more, universal super-fast broadband will undoubtedly lure big-name companies looking for the best IT services in Europe to the UK. As Dublin is the technology hotbed of Ireland, London can very well become the Internet technology centre of the UK and beyond.
The only possible snag is the potential for funding to dry up. It is one thing to commit £250 million today; it's an entirely different thing to actually have the money when needed. If the private sector begins investing in infrastructure only to be left hanging in the future, it could have a devastating impact. Here's hoping that doesn't happen...