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UK People Split over Support for GBP150m Urban Broadband Fund
A new ISPreview.co.uk survey of 872 internet users in the United Kingdom has found that over half support the government's GBP150m plan to boost city broadband access but, when given a choice, 62% would rather they spent it on improving rural access.
The Urban Broadband Fund (**) aims to deliver "ultrafast" fibre optic based 80-100Mbps+ (Megabits per second) broadband services to ten large UK "super-connected cities" and a further batch of "smaller cities" over the next three years, starting with the main capital cities of Edinburgh (Scotland), Belfast (N.Ireland), Cardiff (Wales) and London (England).
However, when given a choice of alternative options, some 62% of respondents said that they'd rather put the £150m towards boosting broadband in poorly served rural areas and only 19% would spend it in cities as intended. A further 11% would have used the money to help cut the country's deficit and just 8% would spend it on something else entirely (i.e. not broadband or cutting the deficit).
"On this issue the country initially appears to be split right down the middle," said ISPreview.co.uk's Founder, Mark Jackson. "But, when given a choice, most people still think that the new funding would be better spent upon improving internet access in poorly served rural areas, as befits the governments original focus."
"At the same time we shouldn't forget that poor broadband connectivity is by no means isolated to rural areas and many urban locations also suffer from similar problems. But it's still difficult to understand the government's decision to intervene in places that the private sector could resolve by itself," concluded Jackson.
* Online survey conducted between 5th March 2012 and 16th April 2012 with 872 UK internet users.
** Urban Broadband Fund Details
*** Explanation of why the lack of fast broadband is NOT just a problem for UK rural areas