UK government to help push faster broadband

Written by Phil Cogar

September 19, 2007 // 4:25 p.m.

Tags: #broadband #faster-access #fiber-network #fibre-network #high-speed-internet #uk-government

The majority of Brits may have a broadband connection but it seems, if you go by our forum posts, that many of their connections are not quite up to speed. Well the UK government has apparently taken notice of your complaints and hopes to step in to help usher in higher connectivity speeds.

"Today we face a new challenge. Other countries are starting to invest in new, fibre-based infrastructure, delivering considerably higher bandwidth than is available in the UK today," said Stephen Timms, Minister for Competitiveness. "I have decided to chair a high level summit later this year to consider the circumstances that might trigger public sector intervention and the form that intervention might take."

All of this came about from an event that was organised by the Broadband Stakeholder Group.

Richard Allan, Director of Government Affairs at Cisco and a member of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, believes that 40 percent of UK citizens should have a fibre connection by 2012. He says that 24 megabits/sec is the top out under good connections on copper-based system.

The move to fibre based systems won't come cheap though as it's estimated that it will cost between £10 and £15 billion to build a fibre network. This is the part where government help is needed. Planning laws and lowered civil engineering costs would help lower the overall cost of the upgrade.

Normally, fibre lines are run through ducts in municipal sewage systems because of the fragility of the lines but this might be an unavailable route in some parts of the UK. Deeper sewers that aren't municipally owned could pose problems in many areas but another solution is available. Micro ducts are used in such areas where fibre is blown through them in long runs.

The government should announce any plans to step in either late this year or early next.

Do you think that you'll see faster broadband speeds if the government steps in and lends a hand? Discuss your thoughts over in the forums or in the comment section below.
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