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UK Wants Nationwide Broadband Access

British pols are backing a plan that would extend high-speed Internet links to all parts of the country.

The U.K. government plans to extend broadband to every home in the country within three years and it's taking steps to fund the initiative.

Alistair Darling, who as chancellor of the Exchequer heads the country's economic and finance policies, said this week that all businesses and homes in the United Kingdom should have high-speed Internet access. The country plans to extend broadband with transmission rates of at least 2 Mbps for fast, reliable streaming video. Other reports indicate that the country may aim for speeds of 50 Mb.

Darling highlighted the issue during discussion of the country's budget. A surplus of funds left over from a program to help people switch from analog to digital television and radio will help pay for the expansion, and the national government could offer billions of dollars to help telecommunications companies, other ISPs, and technology companies add high-skilled jobs.

BT, seen as the only company able to deliver broadband to every home in the country, is awaiting more details. The BBC Trust said it supports universal broadband and that none of the money will diminish spending on radio or television, but some broadcasters had hoped some of the transition surplus could be used to fund educational and informational television programs.

A report due to be published in July will detail how the country will offer and pay for universal broadband. The United Kingdom also plans to help its citizens improve their digital skills to promote broadband adoption.

Government leaders have acknowledged that some areas will miss out on new networks.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on government IT priorities. Download the report here (registration required).

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