The government’s well-publicised plans to boost additional superfast broadband expansion throughout the UK – by providing £530m in funding towards private enterprise broadband infrastructure development schemes – has been approved by the European Union (EU).
The EU consent had been essential given that state aid of this kind – and the magnitude of the investment – might otherwise have been challenged as anti-competitive under EU guidelines.
Commenting on the funding having been given the official go-ahead, Maria Miller, the UK government’s culture, media and sport secretary, said:
“Finally getting the green light from Brussels will mean a huge boost for the British economy. Superfast broadband is essential to creating growth, jobs and prosperity and the delay has caused frustration within government. Today’s announcement means that we can crack on with delivering broadband plans, boosting growth and jobs around the country.”
Under the funding initiative, the UK government – via its specially created agency body Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) – aims to ensure that 90% of homes and businesses in the UK will be able to access superfast broadband should they need to.
To date, BDUK has agreed to provide funding towards superfast broadband infrastructure projects in North Yorkshire, Surrey, Wales, Rutland and Lancashire – all of which had been successfully tendered for by BT.
Other broadband development schemes in the pipeline are reported to cover Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Cumbria, and – at an earlier stage in the procurement process – Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Highlands & Islands, Devon & Somerset, Wiltshire, Kent & Medway, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Shropshire.
Among the many fundamental benefits for businesses deriving from the acquisition of superfast broadband is the capacity to access internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol).
IP telephony and business VoIP are much sought-after by many enterprises since they help facilitate greater control over the management of business phone systems and can also lead to cheaper phone costs.