Originally published: August 15, 2011
Last updated: August 15, 2011 - 2:03pm
UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will fire the starting gun on the race to turn Britain's Internet "not spots" into hot spots this week by allocating a £530 million fund for broadband-starved communities.
Cornish fishing villages, Welsh valleys and Cumbrian farmsteads will all have access to high-speed Internet within four years if telecoms companies add their money to the state pot and consumers show interest. Sec Hunt is expected to announce how the money, diverted from the BBC to create a digital Britain, will be shared among 40 areas including English councils, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A further £300 million has been promised after 2015. The government wants all 25 million UK homes to have access to a minimum speed of 2Mbps (megabits per second), which would mean that reading web pages, making Skype phone calls or watching TV catch-up services, such as the BBC's iPlayer, will all be possible from the most remote cottage. If all goes to plan, 90% of homes will be able to get even faster speeds of over 24Mbps, enough for several computers to download video simultaneously on a single line.
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