Culture Secretary Maria Miller has announced that the £10 million superfast broadband fund was open for bids. She said the focus is shifting to the hardest to reach premises in Britain as the government’s ambitious broadband programme is already on track to deliver superfast speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017.
The fund will enable a range of pilot projects to be run, as the government seeks to include the most remote areas in the broadband transformation taking place across Britain.
Suppliers can submit bids in three different categories:
- Technology – seeing whether a technology that works can be used in remote areas
- Operating models – trying novel operating models such as joining smaller networks together into a common larger network
- Financial – testing innovative public / private funding models that could bring in new investment
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “Government’s rollout of superfast broadband is already reaching more than 10,000 homes every week but now we need to focus on the hardest to reach communities.
These pilots will be instrumental in helping us understand how to overcome the challenges of reaching the most remote areas of the UK, and I hope to see a wide range of suppliers coming forward with innovative proposals.”
Earlier this month, Ofcom said that the UK leads the EU’s five biggest economies on most measures of coverage, take-up, usage and choice for both mobile and fixed broadband, and performs well on price.