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BBC to boost broadband push

The BBC has agreed to help fund superfast broadband expansion to rural areas, as the license fee is frozen for six years.

BBC

The BBC will contribute to bringing super-fast broadband to rural areas in the UK, the Government has announced.

The broadcaster will contribute to the 530 million of Government spending to go on next-generation broadband over the next four years, while TV license fees have been frozen for six years, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said.

Pilots for taking next-generation broadband into more secluded parts of the UK with BBC funding will go ahead in the Highlands and Islands, North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Herefordshire, Osborne confirmed today during the spending cuts announcement.

The BBC has also agreed to cut its online spend and will "make no further encroachments into local media markets, to protect local newspapers and independent local radio and TV," Osborne explained.

"All of this will help encourage the growth of our creative industries as a key part of the new economy we are seeking to build," he said.

The BBC should contribute to the overall cuts "as a publicly funded organisation," Osborne added.

BT is currently pushing ahead with trying to close the broadband gap in the UK, where a third of the country is currently set to miss out on next-generation services.

Earlier this month, BT announced a nationwide survey to garner how the level of fibre broadband demand differs between parts of the UK.

The poll will advise where the communications giant will roll out superfast services.

Communities have until the end of 2010 to express how much they want next-generation broadband.

For our roundup of today's cuts announcement news affecting the tech world, head here.

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