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The government has defended its broadband rollout plans by claiming another 10 million properties will be hooked online to speeds of at least 2Mbit/s by 2015 in response to criticisms from Labour politicians.
Culture secretary Maria Miller was forced to respond to a barrage of questions from opposition members on a parliamentary question session on Thursday. This included Labour MP Harriet Harma, who said there was "growing concern” the target of connecting 90 percent of the population by 2015 would not be reached. Miller, though, dismissed such claims and said the government’s plans are on track.
“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,” she said, according to Hansard.
“Broadband has a fantastic role to play, and we are making sure it reaches more and more households. Indeed, it will reach 10 million more households by the end of this parliament .”
Although the comments are bullish, Miller doesn't actually address the point directly of whether the government will hit its target.
The issues comes after BT confirmed that its fibre rollout had reached 15 million premises as part of its plans to help two-thirds of the UK gain access to superfast services. Elsewhere BT is involved in almost all rural broadband rollouts that are being part funded by money from the government's Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework that form the basis of the government's plans.
Others have questioned whether a 2Mbit/s threshold for broadband connections is too low and telecoms regulator Ofcom, which set the limit, admitted last year it thought it had now set the bar too low, although it will not be changed.
Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal.