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BizReport : Internet : December 07, 2010

$1.3 trillion broadband plan forges ahead in UK

Online retailers in the U.K. welcome their Government's recent announcement that plans to achieve 90% coverage for superfast broadband Internet within the next few years are forging ahead.

by Helen Leggatt

By 2015, the British Government aims to have completed its 830 million strategy to ensure every community in the country has a "digital hub".

Currently, more than 70% of households in the U.K. subscribe to broadband and nearly 50% of all homes have access to a superfast 50Mbps service.

Many rural areas in Britain either do not have broadband access or have poor access, and even some city areas, including London, have slower access than in large cities elsewhere in the world.

Around nine million adults in the U.K. have never accessed the Internet.

"A superfast network will be the foundation for a new economic dynamism, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and adding billions to our GDP," said Media Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, in a recent announcement.

While the government plan relies on the private sector to deliver broadband to around two-thirds of the U.K., other, mainly rural, areas will receive public funds to build the digital hubs with a fiber optic Internet connection.

No doubt retailers will be pleased as rolling out faster services across the country will allow more people to shop online.

"Broadband speeds for rural areas and villages could well have a positive effect on the e-retail industry, giving more people access to shopping from home at speeds that greatly increase convenience and usability," said Tina Spooner, Director of Information at e-tail membership group IMRG.

"Slow connections can have a negative impact on the trust that consumers have at the checkout, when low speeds can make the session appear to 'hang' at times."

Tags: broadband, Internet access, UK

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