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Vaizey: Fixed broadband 'just part' of superfast solution

Tuesday, December 29th 2015 by Ellen Branagh

The government is “on track” to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by the end of 2017, but fixed broadband is just part of the solution, Ed Vaizey has said.

The digital minister has called on the public and industry to share ideas on how the UK’s digital revolution can be taken to the next stage.

Writing in a blog on the future of the UK’s digital strategy, Mr Vaizey outlined several key ingredients for the success of the UK’s ‘digital revolution’.

They include updating government services, helping transform day-to-day life, creating an open environment for innovation, and digital infrastructure.

“We need to get the fundamental areas right to make everything else possible,” Mr Vaizey wrote.

“On connectivity we’re on track to deliver superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by the end of 2017 – and we’re planning to make it a legal right for every home and business in the UK to request fast broadband.

“But fixed broadband is just part of the solution.

“We’re working to make internet access ubiquitous, so everyone can access it whenever and wherever they need it.”

On Sunday the government announced that more than 3.5m homes and businesses have now been reached by its superfast broadband rollout – meaning almost nine in 10 UK homes have access to superfast speeds.

It is currently expected to pass the 4m milestone in spring 2016, according to the government.

The rollout, which aims to deliver speeds faster than 24Mbps to properties not covered by existing commercial networks, is said to be on track to take superfast access to 95% of the UK by December 2017.

Of the milestone, Mr Vaizey said: “Our rollout of superfast broadband is one of the biggest and most challenging infrastructure projects undertaken by government in recent times.

'Progress'

“We need to keep the UK moving with the demands of the digital age, and our tremendous progress throughout 2015 has equipped businesses with the tools they need to grow, and homes with the technology to be part of our online global community.”

In his latest blog post, Mr Vaziey described ‘UK Plc’ as “one of the most developed digital economies in the world”.

“We’ve built a great base — but we need to work hard to make sure we continue to take advantage of the benefits digital transformation has to offer, as an economy and as a society,” he said.

“Other countries are hot on our heels but we want the UK to be synonymous with digital – a place where digital technologies transform day-to-day life, the economy and government.”

Early next year, the government will set out a new digital strategy for the UK, looking to the next five years, Mr Vaizey said.

Calling for ideas on how the UK’s digital revolution can be taken to the next stage, Mr Vaizey said the government wants the UK to be a place where digital technologies transform day-to-day life, the economy and government.

“We need to work hard to make sure we continue to take advantage of the benefits digital transformation has to offer.

“Come 2020, undoubtedly the UK landscape will have changed to be firmly in the digital age. But how do you want to shape that? Let’s show the rest of the world how it’s done.”

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