Packnet Blog

Lancashire will become the first county to use a government subsidy to provide broadband across its rural areas; a move which is sure to delight many residential and commercial customers.

At present, only 85% of homes and businesses throughout the county have access to internet speeds above 2Mbps. Such restrictions on speed is crippling for many high-end technologies, such as IP telephony, making many areas of business almost impossible for rural enterprises.

The government wants to see such large areas of low-speed internet eradicated, which is why it has pledged the £530 million to fund country-wide development of networks.

The aim is to provide all parts of the UK with speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2015.

Despite all counties needing to outline their project plans by the end of April 2012, only Lancashire has so far confirmed. As well as using the government funding, the county will also receive financial support from BT, who will be partners on the project.

On a far wider scale though, the government is also keen to see 90% of the country get access to super-fast broadband connections.

Keeping to the same target of 2015, providers are being urged to install connections capable of delivering 24Mbps speeds as a minimum. The present average is 7.6Mbps, though many premises do not get near to this, particularly at peak times.

The slow progress counties have made in negotiating with telecoms companies has come in for a lot of criticism. Many of the telcos have responded with complaints that the money available from Westminster is not enough.

As a result, the spring deadline is likely to be largely missed, which could prove costly for the country and the continued economic recovery.

The faster speeds are likely to boost both national and local economies significantly, with Lancashire County Council expecting the project to create at least 2,500 jobs for example.

Callum Byrnes