Labour calls for broadband rollout increase

Thursday, May 19th 2011
A faster rollout of superfast broadband services in the UK has been called for by a Labour MP.
Labour calls for broadband rollout increase
The Labour party has applied pressure to the coalition government by claiming that its scheduled plans for the rollout of superfast broadband across the UK are insufficient.

Conservative pledges in the run-up to last year's general election originally set a 2012 deadline for the delivery of its Broadband for All scheme. However, this date has now been pushed back to 2015, with the target of providing average download speeds of 25 Mbps to 90 per cent of the population by this date.

Ian Lucas MP, Labour's shadow minister for industry and the digital economy, said the installation of superfast broadband services is not simply a luxury for firms and UK residents alike, but a tool that will allow the country to remain competitive and economically strong in the future.

As such, Mr Lucas argued that the government needs to move faster to ensure the superfast network is up and running as soon as possible.

He commented: "This is a major national infrastructure issue like the road and rail networks and will define how well Britain can compete in the international market.

"The Tory-led government urgently need to tell thousands of businesses and households when they can expect to be given the vital high-speed service needed for the coming years."

His comments follow an announcement by culture secretary Jeremy Hunt last week that 90 per cent of UK businesses will have access to superfast broadband facilities by 2015.

Mr Hunt added that the government now needs to make sufficient investment in this area, while internet service providers should look to take a leaf out of BT's book and implement community-led projects - such as the firm's Race to Infinity scheme - in order to attract greater investment and boost demand.

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Perth is expected to become the UK's latest "super-connected city" in the coming months.

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