BT welcomes government broadband investment

 BT has welcomed news that the government is to invest just over £363 million to help boost the availability of broadband in England and Scotland. Ian Livingston

The announcement made on Wednesday by secretary of state for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport Jeremy Hunt will see counties in England receive £294.8 million, and Scotland £68.8 million.

This is part of £530 million of Government investment designed to ensure that the UK has the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, with 90 per cent of homes and businesses having access to superfast broadband and for everyone in the UK to have access to at least 2Mbps.

Said Mr Hunt: “I am absolutely determined that the UK will have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015 – one that we all benefit from. Fast broadband is absolutely vital to our economic growth, to delivering public services effectively, and to conducting our everyday lives.”

Ian Livingston, chief executive of BT Group, welcomed the Government’s pledge to bring faster broadband to rural areas adding that the announcement was great news for homes and businesses.

“This announcement from the government is very welcome,” said Mr Livingston.

“BT is investing more than any other company to roll out superfast broadband and we are keen to reach even more areas by working with the public sector. Our partnerships in Northern Ireland and Cornwall show what can be achieved when the private and public sector work together and so we will consider bidding for these funds.

“It is important that these funds are used wisely and so we would encourage the government to work with private sector partners who are in this for the long run, who are willing to invest significant funds and who can guarantee open and equal access to their networks. Open and equal access is essential if competition is to flourish and end users are to benefit from low prices. Local monopolies would benefit no-one.

“There needs to be a collective effort if superfast broadband is to reach at least 90 per cent of the UK. BT is willing and able to play its part but local government and community groups will also need to get involved if rural areas are to benefit,” he said.