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UK superfast broadband worries companies

November 15, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, WiFi

Broadband firms have warned that a new superfast digital divide is emerging.UK superfast broadband worries companiesSpeakers at the Westminster eForum said that around 10% of the UK will not be able to get superfast broadband in the next decade.

Government funds set aside to address so-called notspots were insufficient, they said.

BT said that EU targets for all citizens to have speeds of at least 30Mbps (megabits per second) by 2020 were “impossible to achieve”.

Meanwhile Fujitsu revealed more about its plans to fill in the UK’s broadband blackspots.

The Japanese electronics giant burst onto the UK broadband scene in April, pledging to offer a fibre-to-the-home network to the third of the country bypassed by commercial broadband rollouts.

Using the £530 million pot of government money set aside for rural broadband, it said that it could create a fibre-to-the-home 1Gbps (gigabit per second) network for around 5 million users within five years.

But it has been slow progress. So far Fujitsu has bid to build fibre networks in just three areas – Wales, North Yorkshire and Cumbria.

In two areas, including the Highlands and Islands, it decided that the sums simply did not stack up.

“Even with government funding there are parts of the UK where the business case will not work,” said Bill MacKenzie, Fujitsu’s business unit director.

The money has been divided out among local authorities who in turn put out tenders to network providers.

Geographical areas benefitting from broadband investments

  • Cumbria: £17m
  • Devon and Somerset: £31.3m
  • East Sussex: £10.6m
  • Kent: £9.87m
  • Lancashire: £10.8m
  • Lincolnshire: £14.3m
  • Norfolk: £15.4m
  • North Yorkshire: £17.8m
  • Suffolk: £11.68m

It was a view backed by rival BT, which is bidding to provide fibre networks in the same areas.

Sean Williams, group director of strategy and policy at BT, told delegates that current funding would reach 90% of the UK.

For those in the 90% the future was bright. He predicted that “over half would have speeds of more than 100 megabits” before 2020.

This would put the UK on schedule to meet an EU goal that half of its citizens should have access to at least 100Mbps by that time as well as propelling the UK to the top of the European speed league tables.

But the other key EU broadband target – to have all member-state citizens on a minimum speed of 30Mbps by 2020 – was “not achievable for any country”, said Mr Williams.

In the UK the 10% left behind might be a small minority but the gap between them and the others would be huge said Alastair Davidson, Arqiva’s managing director of mobile.

“The 90% will have a Ferrari and the 10% a bicycle,” he said.

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