Government assures it is on track to meet universal broadband targets

Government assures it is on track to meet universal broadband targets
Can the government deliver on broadband targets?

Culture Secretary Maria Miller has assured doubters that the government will deliver on its target of universal broadband for Britons by 2015, but not without a few shades of grey creeping into her responses.

The Conservative MP told parliament that the £680m plan to bring at least 2Mbps download speeds across the country, including rural areas is on track, despite recent reports the roll out was falling behind schedule.

As The Register points out, a third of the current BT contracts won't be completed until 2016 leading the Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman to question the progress being made.

She asked: "The government promised superfast broadband by the end of 2015, but there is growing concern that they will not meet that target.

"Can the Secretary of State assure the House that those concerns are wrong and that she is on track to meet the government's target of 90 per cent of premises getting superfast broadband by 2015?"

Dodging the real question

Dodging the question somewhat, Miller said that a further 10 million homes would get broadband access by the end of this parliament, which course, fails to the universal 2Mbps access or the 90 per cent superfast access claims.

She responded: "Not only with our commitment to 2Mbits/sec universally, but through our urban project and our rural broadband project, we are actually delivering for the people of this country."

"More than two-thirds of premises now have access to superfast broadband, so perhaps it is little wonder that the people of this country bought so many goods and services online in 2011 — we bought more than any other major economy,"

"Broadband has a fantastic role to play, and we are making sure it reaches more and more households. Indeed, it will reach ten million more households by the end of this parliament."

Although those 10 million homes could equate to the final third of the super-fast equation (there are 28.8m households in the UK), the language has certainly changed.

Right now it looks like almost everyone will have access to broadband - superfast or not - by the end of 2015, but you know what they say about almost; it only counts in hand grenades.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.