U.K. aims for the fastest broadband in Europe by 2015
The U.K.'s culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, wants Britain to have the fastest broadband in Europe by 2015.
Hunt reaffirmed the government's ambition for the U.K. to top the broadband league tables in a matter of years at an event yesterday in Google's London offices, the Guardian reports. The offices are close to Silicon Roundabout -- an area of the city home to a number of technology startups.
The culture secretary told attendees at the event:
"To really be the best you need to be the fastest. I am today announcing an ambition to be not just the best overall, but specifically the fastest broadband of any major European country. Getting the plumbing right for our digital economy is not just an advantage to consumers -- it is also essential for our digital and creative industries, all of whom need reliable high-speed networks to develop and export their products as they move large digital files around the world."
Hunt highlighted the music, animation, video game and television industries as examples of sectors that rely on good broadband.
The speech drew criticism from the U.K.'s opposition party. Labour culture spokeswoman Helen Goodman told the Guardian that the plan would mean "millions of people will have to wait at least three more years for a broadband connection" as speed rather than countrywide access would become the priority.
The U.K. government's current target is for 90 percent of Britain to have access to a minimum speed of 24Mbps by 2015, with all of the population able to receive at least 2Mbps.
Speeds in the country are on the up: the U.K.'s communications watchdog Ofcom recently released a report showing U.K. broadband speeds increased by 22 percent since 2011 -- to 7.6Mbps, up from 6.2Mbps last year.
However, the U.K. is far from tops in terms of speed. A report by Akamai (.pdf, registration required) found that Hong Kong secured the top spot for average broadband speed at 49.2Mbps, whereas the U.K. only managed 21st place.