Chief treasury secretary widens target for broadband coverage

Chief treasury secretary Danny Alexander has widened the government's target for high-speed broadband coverage from 90 per cent to include all of the UK.

He announced the change during his keynote speech at the Birmingham annual conference of the Liberal Democrat party, some of whose MPs represent the most remote parts of the UK.

Alexander, who is responsible for controlling public spending, said too many businesses are being held back from expansion by congested roads, slow railways and inadequate broadband.

He told rank and file representatives: "We have prioritised the money to invest to make sure that high-speed broadband gets to every part of the country."

He gave no details on how the new target would be achieved. However, his comments follow a speech in which culture secretary Jeremy Hunt criticised market players for holding back the UK's migration to superfast broadband and new 4G networks.

In the same speech, Hunt criticised BT for taking too long to establish pricing for competitors that wish to access its ducts and poles in order to provide physical infrastructure access to facilitate superfast provision. The last spending review saw £530m allocated to the broadband rollout.

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22 April 2024

21 04 2024