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The government intends to give the digital economy a boost by providing ‘ultrafast’ broadband services to all households in the UK.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the plan during his final Budget speech ahead of the general election set for 7 May.

"We’re committing to a new national ambition to bring ultrafast broadband of at least 100 megabits per second to nearly all homes in the country, so Britain is out in front," he said.

However, Osborne did not give any specifics on how this would be achieved, by what date or at what cost. The full Budget report did not provide any more insight, either.

In another major telecoms-related Budget announcement, Osborne said the government intends to invest £600m to clear spectrum bands to help drive more mobile data coverage and capacity.

The full Budget report says this money will be spent on freeing up the 700MHz digital TV spectrum for future mobile services.
Osborne also said there are plans to boost satellite and WiFi services.

"We’ll test the latest satellite technology so we reach the remotest communities. We’ll provide funding for WiFi in our public libraries, and expand broadband vouchers to many more cities, so no one is excluded," he said.

Osborne also mentioned plans to fund investment in smart cities.

"We’re [...] committing almost £140m to world-class research across the UK into the infrastructure and cities of the future," he said.
"And we’ll invest in what is known as the Internet of Things. This is the next stage of the information revolution, connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances."

The government said £40m would be put into the development of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, although specifics were again lacking.

"The government will invest £40m to develop Internet of Things technologies through large-scale demonstrator programmes, business incubator space and a research centre. The funding will focus on healthcare, social care and smart cities."

Osborne also said £100m would be invested in "the race to driverless technology".

The full Budget document again lacked any specifics on these announcements.

Adrian Baschnonga, lead telecoms analyst at EY, said the government's amibitions for improving connectivity were "ambitious and far-reaching" as it showed there was a keen emphasis on getting everyone online with high-speed services.

"Britain is already ahead of many neighbouring markets when it comes to super-fast broadband coverage and plans to extend ultra-fast broadband to nearly all homes represent a strong statement of additional intent," he said.

"The use of satellite technology, to reach the remotest areas, alongside moves to free up more spectrum for mobile are evidence of a holistic approach."

Source: v3.co.uk



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