UK Minister for Competition wants to get bandwidth up to speed

Government plans broadband intervention

Stephen Timms, Minister for Competitiveness, has made it a "personal priority" to bring the UK to the forefront of next-gen broadband service.

Other countries, including those outside Europe and the US have invested heavily in higher bandwidth.

"Today we face a new challenge. Other countries are starting to invest in new, fibre-based infrastructure, delivering considerably higher bandwidth than is available in the UK today," Mr Timms told the Broadband Stakeholder Group and others attending a meeting on Tuesday evening.

"I have decided to chair a high level summit later this year to consider the circumstances that might trigger public sector intervention and the form that intervention might take," he said.

According to Richard Allan, a member of the Broadband Stakeholder Group and director of government affairs at Cisco, Britain needs to act now in order to keep its place in the top quarter of broadband nations.

"That should be one of the targets that the government sets if it wants to stay economically competitive," he said.

"The current copper-based system is limited by ADSL which means 24 megabits under very good conditions," he said.

Estimates suggest that upgrading the majority of UK residents to a fibre-based network could cost £10-15bn.

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