Acres more broadband

Inside the Enterprise: Subsidies for rural broadband have been approved by the EU, but the UK's 2Mbps target remains controversial.

This week, the European Commission approved Government plans to subsidise broadband in rural areas.

This means the BDUK scheme will be able to go ahead, without a challenge from European authorities over the misuse of state aid.

The Government has put much store by the BDUK project, with Culture Secretary Maria Miller describing it as a "huge boost" for the economy. But critics of the scheme claim the plans are too modest and too late to make much of a difference.

Under the BDUK scheme, local areas can apply for financial support from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport; the largest schemes have received funding of up to 18m, the total budget for the project is over 1bn.

The DCMS has helpfully created a Google Docs speadsheet charting progress of the different bids, known as Local Broadband Plans (LPDs).

However, controversy surrounds both the relatively unambitious targets for broadband speed, and the small number of companies awarded the contracts.

Most deals to date have gone to BT and, in several areas, the firm has been the only bidder.

Campaigners for rural connectivity have raised concerns that bidders will use public funds to make network improvements they would have carried out anyway. BT, for its part, strenuously denies this.

Campaigners also worry the BDUK rules effectively lock out smaller internet service providers, which might be able to offer alternative services.

Business users, though, are more concerned about what is being provided, than who is providing it. The Government's target for rural broadband is 2mbps, a target that has not been revised for some years.

But even in the last 12 months, the average speed of home broadband connections has increased from around 7Mbps to 12Mbps, according to Ofcom's figures. This has largely been driven by the uptake of fibre-based services, such as BT Infinity and Virgin Media, in urban areas.

It is more important than ever for speeds to catch up it can take 12 hours to download an iPad update

That is not to say that BDUK bids will only supply 2Mbps BT's fibre to the cabinet technology should be able to deliver 35Mbps in most areas but the overall Government policy on broadband now looks dated, even if the intention is to deliver 2Mbps to hard to reach homes and businesses.

Featured Resources

The ultimate law enforcement agency guide to going mobile

Best practices for implementing a mobile device program

Free download

The business value of Red Hat OpenShift

Platform cost savings, ROI, and the challenges and opportunities of Red Hat OpenShift

Free download

Managing security and risk across the IT supply chain: A practical approach

Best practices for IT supply chain security

Free download

Digital remote monitoring and dispatch services’ impact on edge computing and data centres

Seven trends redefining remote monitoring and field service dispatch service requirements

Free download

Recommended

HPE inks $2 billion high-performance computing deal with the NSA
high-performance computing (HPC)

HPE inks $2 billion high-performance computing deal with the NSA

1 Sep 2021
White House launches tech fellowship program to tackle key issues
Policy & legislation

White House launches tech fellowship program to tackle key issues

31 Aug 2021
Department of Health and Human Services must improve cyber security info sharing
Security

Department of Health and Human Services must improve cyber security info sharing

30 Jun 2021
GDPR 2.0: What do Europe’s new AI rules mean for businesses?
IT regulation

GDPR 2.0: What do Europe’s new AI rules mean for businesses?

28 Jun 2021

Most Popular

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans
Laptops

Apple MacBook Pro 15in vs Dell XPS 15: Clash of the titans

11 Oct 2021
Best Linux distros 2021
operating systems

Best Linux distros 2021

11 Oct 2021
HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games
Network & Internet

HPE wins networking contract with Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games

15 Oct 2021