The government is changing planning permission rules to aid the quicker rollout of faster internet speeds across the UK.This includes permission for firms to install broadband cabinets and other related infrastructure on public land without local councils’ permission in England.
It is also consulting about ways to shorten the time it takes to agree approval for cables and cabinet installation on private land UK-wide.
The commitment includes £150 million to create 10 “super-connected” cities offering download speeds of at least 80Mbps (megabits per second) by 2015, and £530 million from the BBC licence fee to help boost speeds in the countryside.
The overall aim is to offer speeds of at least 24Mbps to more than 90% of the UK to become the “fastest in Europe” within three years.
At that speed it would take 15 minutes to download a 90-minute high definition programme.
The plans are designed to make it easier for BT and others to install their 4ft 7in tall dark green cabinets, and retrofit existing ones with new outer shells without running the risk that they will be opposed by the public.
The government said that English councils would only retain the right to object if plans affected a site of special scientific interest.
Internet providers have also been told that they will “face less cost and bureaucracy in laying cables in streets” in England and Wales once officials have found a way to simplify current permit schemes.
BT ran into problems earlier this year when London’s Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea rejected 96 of its 108 applications for street cabinets needed to offer its fibre optic cabling service, leading to the plans being withdrawn.
BT Openreach cabinet BT said it typically took between 28 and 56 days to be granted council permission to install its cabinets.