Budget: Broadband funding evades cuts

George Osborne has made his Budget announcement, and it seems broadband funding is safe from cuts for at least the next 12 months.

Broadband funding has escaped without injury in the UK government's latest Budget.

Chancellor George Osborne today unveiled his annual Budget with little mention at all of broadband or ongoing upgrades to the country's communications network.

The good news is that existing broadband funding hasn't been axed, as the government presses ahead with its £1billion investment in fibre optic broadband.

It plans to make superfast connections - offering speeds of at least 24Mb - available to 90% of homes and businesses across the UK, as well as promising a smaller speed boost to a minimum 2Mb for the remaining 10% of premises.

The Budget for broadband also includes the £150million Urban Broadband Fund for expanding the availability of 'ultrafast' broadband connections - with speeds in excess of 80Mb - and speedy public Wi-Fi in more than 20 UK cities.

In addition, there's the £150million Mobile Infrastructure Project, to spread mobile broadband coverage to at least 98% of the UK population by the end of 2017, as well as a £20million Rural Community Broadband Fund to boost connectivity in remote locations.

Today's Budget made no mention of additional funding but did provide an update on some of the continuing investment.

Osborne said at least half of the local broadband projects being funded by Broadband Deliver UK, an office within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport - are now underway. All contracts, most of which involve BT, are due to be finalised by the end of summer 2013.

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