Tuesday August 21,2012 : FASTER INTERNET FOR BRITISH PUNTERS
 
Culture Secretary outlines plans for speeds over 24 mbps
 
British online punters will have the fastest internet in Europe if the British Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has his way.
 
Addressing a meeting at Silicon Roundabout, the area around Old Street on the fringes of the City of London where many technology firms and startups are based, the politician revealed that his target was a truly high speed broadband available over 90 percent of the country by 2015, creating better efficiency and increasing business profitability.
 
"To really be the best you need to be the fastest," Hunt told broadband experts. "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".
 
The culture secretary's commitment follows a House of Lords report into the national broadband strategy published last month, reports The Guardian newspaper.
 
It also follows the results of a Freelancer.co.uk study which found that 57 percent of executives at 1,500 internet-dependent companies thought that poor quality internet access adversely affected their business.
 
And 65 percent thought there was a rural-urban divide with more remote areas unable to take advantage of new opportunities because of lower broadband speeds.
 
Britain is currently ranked 15th in Europe in the quarterly speed league table by web technology company Akamai, behind countries such as Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, but ahead of France, Italy and Spain. In the OECD's league table of advertised, rather than actual speeds, the UK is again in 15th place, ahead of the US and Germany, but behind France, the Scandinavian nations and Japan.
 
The UK government is aiming for 90 percent of the country to have access to superfast services – defined as 24Mb per second or more – by 2015, with the final 10 percent receiving no less than 2Mb.
 
The Lords communications committee has urged ministers to switch their focus from speeds to building the right technologies, encouraging fibre-optic lines to be built for as many homes as possible.