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Conservatives promise 'cheapest superfast broadband' in Europe

Tuesday, April 14th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The Conservative Party has promised to deliver “the most comprehensive and cheapest superfast broadband coverage of any major European country” should it win next month’s general election.

The party’s manifesto, launched today in Swindon by the Prime Minister, sets out a £100bn investment in infrastructure, including broadband and mobile.

It says ultrafast broadband – speeds of 100Mbps or more – should be available to “nearly all UK premises as soon as practicable”.

It also repeats the Conservatives’ aim of delivering superfast broadband – speeds of at least 24Mbps – to 95% of the UK by the end of 2017.

“We will ensure no-one is left behind by subsidising the cost of installing superfast capable satellite services in the very hardest to reach areas,” it adds.

“And we will also release more spectrum from public sector use to allow greater private sector access.”

'Invest in mobile'

The document also says the Tories will provide rural Britain with “near universal superfast broadband” by 2020 and pledges to boost the UK’s mobile coverage.

“We will hold the mobile operators to their new legally binding agreement to ensure that 90% of the UK landmass will have voice and SMS coverage by 2017,” it says.

“We will continue to invest in mobile infrastructure to deliver coverage for voice calls and text messages for the final 0.3 – 0.4% of UK premises that do not currently have it.”

The Conservatives also say they will ensure Britain “seizes the chance to be a world leader in the development of 5G, playing a key role in defining industry standards”.

The UK, in the form of the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, is already working on the next generation of mobile technology, partly thanks to an £11m investment by the coalition government.

The Green Party, which launched its manifesto in Brighton this morning, says internet service providers will be given an “obligation to provide affordable high-speed broadband-capable infrastructure to every household and small business”.

“This in particular will encourage video-conferencing, helping to reduce both business and family travel,” it says.

The Greens have also promised to tighten the rules on cross-media ownership to ensure no individual or company owns more than 20% of any media market.

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