Monday, January 7, 2013

UK - Think tank argues for a switch away from speed targets to helping those not online

The Policy Exchange has published a report The Superfast and the Furious: Priorities for the future of UK broadband policy that argues:
that politicians have become overly focused on broadband speeds. The internet is central to modern life, and next generation fixed and mobile broadband are unquestionably vitally important for the economy. But the case for spending any more taxpayers' money to subsidise very fast connectivity is weak.

The report suggests an end to government subsidies for broadband infrastructure once current commitments are reached in 2015. Instead the government should focus on helping the 10.8 million people not online - half of whom are over 65 - and do more to help small businesses make the most of the opportunities presented by the internet.

Chris Yiu, author of the report:
"Successive governments have been right to invest public money in basic broadband connectivity. The government's current spending plans will extend fast broadband to the vast majority of people. Any further public money should be spent on making sure we are putting this to good use. It's far from clear that your taxes should help to pay for me to have an even faster connection.

There is no doubt that broadband, both fixed and wireless, makes a major contribution to the economy. But the right person to decide how much speed your family or business needs is you – not the government.

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