THE UK GOVERNMENT has announced it will fast track the rollout of high speed internet access to support its promises made last month that Britain will have Europe's fastest broadband service by 2015.
Newly appointed Culture Secretary Maria Miller made the announcement today, pledging an investment of £680m in broadband infrastructure to help pave the way for high speed broadband rollout.
"Superfast broadband is vital to secure our country's future - to kick start economic growth and create jobs," Miller said.
"We are putting in the essential infrastructure that will make UK businesses competitive, and sweeping away the red tape that is a barrier to economic recovery."
Under the new plans, the government will allow broadband cabinets to be installed on streets without the need for prior approval from local councils, with ISPs facing lower costs to install them. Broadband cables and cabinets also can now be installed on or under private land "without the bureaucratic burden of long-running negotiations", Miller said.
The announcement follows a speech made by former Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in August when he made public "an ambition to be not just the best, but specifically [to have] the fastest broadband of any major European country by 2015".
However, many are sceptical about the government's plans, including the House of Lords, which said Hunt was far too concerned with speed when we should be focusing more on the amount of broadband coverage in the UK.
Miller said that the government will work with mobile operators, local governments and other interested parties to consider ways that the planning process might be streamlined to speed up the deployment of mobile infrastructure. µ