Rural broadband roll out approved and beginning early this year

The government has finally been given the go ahead for a £530 million broadband roll out that was first announced back in January of 2012. The plans required further intervention from Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who called a meeting in Brussels with the European Commission towards the end of November.

It was expected that everything would go through without a hitch, since there was nothing that did not come under state aid regulations, though sign off for the roll out has taken slightly longer than expected.

The areas benefitting from the scheme are mostly rural, and are located in each of the countries in the UK – Wales looks set to be among the first areas to benefit, along with Surrey in the UK. For many of these areas it has been difficult to get a high speed internet connection for a while, as commercial broadband providers have been reluctant to venture into areas that are less densely populated.

Since online purchasing in the UK will increase 11% per year for the next four years, government initiatives to bridge the existing digital divide arrived at an opportune time. The £530m investment to upgrade Britain’s broadband infrastructure will make the UK economy more competitive in global e-commerce and it will allow SMEs in rural areas to advertise and sell their products on a new platform and to expand their customer base. Furthermore, with improved connectivity, businesses will be able to access online services faster, which will enable them to communicate with their own suppliers and government organisations in a more efficient manner. While the majority of the new rural broadband scheme will be carried out by BT, local businesses are advised to check if there are other suppliers that offer broadband services for a better price in their region.”

For a while now, limits in the top speeds that broadband in rural areas can reach has hampered the choices available, as customers paying for 8MB with one provider or 20MB with another may only receive as little as 1 or 2MBPS regardless of which provider they’re with.

In an ideal world this would be an easy task but the reality is that there are many hidden costs included in broadband offers and customers often find themselves confused and frustrated when shopping around for the best deal for their business.

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