The Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, made the shock announcement at a Broadband Delivery UK conference; he said that there is no longer enough funding to achieve the 2012 target on providing fast broadband to everyone, and the deadline has been extended to 2015.
Previously, it had been promised that the Universal Service Commitment of two megabits per second would be available for all, thus vastly improving the viability of rural businesses.
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William Worsley, the CLA president and an ardent campaigner for faster broadband for all, said: ‘The Government needs to recognise that broadband can act as a fundamental driver in propelling the UK out of its current financial situation. This will be put in jeopardy if we have to wait an additional three years.
‘Mr Hunt mentioned the increased use of Government services online which he believed could lead to savings of at least £1 billion. Yet the one-fifth of people living in rural areas who have no broadband access are unable to benefit from this.’