The UK’s deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, has said that the government will do all it can to ensure that the UK’s planned high-speed broadband roll-out is delivered on time and does not suffer any delays.
Mr Clegg insisted that the government regards a strong, developed high speed broadband infrastructure across the UK as one of the essential ingredients in helping to stimulate economic growth in the country; and that high speed broadband provision will therefore be given ‘priority status’.
Mr Clegg’s announcement was made during a speech in which he warned that the ‘deterioration’ in the global economy was ‘much worse than before’; exacerbated, he said, by the recent financial troubles within both the Euro zone and the US, and by the high cost of oil.
Mr Clegg claimed that the UK was not ‘helpless’ in being able to respond to these challenges, arguing that high speed broadband implementation, along with 39 other essential improvements in the national infrastructure – including motorway upgrades and national grid redevelopment – would provide a significant economic boost.
The UK government had already pledged to invest £530 million to ensure that high speed broadband would cover almost all the UK by 2015. In his speech, however, Mr Clegg said that the government’s new focus was on ensuring there was no ‘slippage’ in reaching this goal, rather than on trying to bring this target – or any other infrastructure targets – forward.
The economic importance of high speed broadband has frequently been cited by business leaders who argue that maximum competitiveness can only be achieved through the benefits which high speed broadband can bring.
These benefits include internet protocol (IP) telephony and business VoIP (voice over internet protocol), both of which can provide companies with greater flexibility and manageability over their communications networks and business phone systems than can be achieved with conventional land line-based telephony.