UK Tories propose 100Mbps broadband by 2017

1 Feb 2010

The UK Conservative Party has unveiled a new broadband plan which it reckons will trump the existing Digital Britain plan to provide 100Mbps to the majority of homes in the UK by 2017.

In June, the Labour Government’s Digital Britain report, led by Lord Stephen Carter, outlined a plan that would provide a minimum of 2Mbps to every home in the UK by 2012 plus implement a 50p tax on every copper line to pay for the roll out of high-speed fibre.

However, the Conservatives, which are gunning to oust British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour government, today outlined a plan they believe will outperform the Digital Britain plan.

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said a Tory government would deliver 100Mbps to the majority of homes by 2017.

Speaking on the BBC Osborne said: “In the 19th century we built the railways. In the 20th century we built the motorways. In the 21st century let’s build the super-fast broadband network that will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for Britain.”

The Tories said the money to invest in this infrastructure would come from private investors who would pay for better cabling.

Broadband enabling rural areas that would not be attractive for investors could be financed by using a proportion of the BBC licence fee.

It has suggested that 3.5pc of the BBC’s licence fee – which currently funds digital switchover – would be adequate to pay for broadband-enabling rural areas.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The UK Conservative Party has unveiled a broadband plan that would deliver 100Mbps to the majority of homes by 2017

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years