The UK government has announced that companies can now bid for funding which can be spent on testing ‘innovative ways to help take broadband to Britain’s most remote communities’. With a GBP10 million (USD16.5 million) fund having been created to support such investment, British culture secretary Maria Miller was cited as saying that the focus for the state has shifted to bringing connectivity to the hardest to reach premises, with the government’s broadband programme said to be on track to deliver superfast speeds to 95% of the UK by 2017. According to a press release from the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the fund will enable a range of pilot projects to be run, with suppliers able to bid based on three different categories, those being: technology – seeing whether a technology that works can be used in remote areas; operating models – trying novel operating models such as joining smaller networks together into a common larger network; and financial – testing innovative public/private funding models that could bring in new investment.
Commenting on the development Ms Miller noted: ‘[The] government’s rollout of superfast broadband is already reaching more than 10,000 homes every week but now we need to focus on the hardest to reach communities. These pilots will be instrumental in helping us understand how to overcome the challenges of reaching the most remote areas of the UK, and I hope to see a wide range of suppliers coming forward with innovative proposals.’