*Ministers’ ambitions to install superfast broadband across the country by 2015 will only be met by “sweeping away the red tape”, Culture Secretary Maria Miller said today as she announced measures for internet providers to bypass local planning committees.
The new plans will enable broadband companies to sidestep local authority rules on erecting infrastructure to support faster download speeds, such as street cabinets or overhead lines.
Ms Miller said: “Superfast broadband is vital to secure our country’s future - to kick-start economic growth and create jobs.
“We are putting in the essential infrastructure that will make UK businesses competitive, and sweeping away the red tape that is a barrier to economic recovery.”
Her words echoed those spoken yesterday by Prime Minister David Cameron who, announcing a relaxation in planning restrictions for two years, said: “The Government means business and we are determined to cut through the bureaucracy that is holding us back.”
Business figures hailed the news as a move to boost the economy.
Julian David, director-general of technology industry trade body Intellect, said: “Today’s announcement is a much-needed boost for those businesses who are crying out for access to better broadband as a route to growth and will also enable new businesses to spring-up across the country, creating jobs and wealth.”
The Culture Secretary also pledged to ensure broadband fibre and other apparatus can be fitted under or above private land without long negotiations.
Recent Government moves to establish nationwide superfast broadband - meaning a minimum download speed of 24 Mbps - also include a £530 million investment to extend access to rural areas and £150 million funding to create “super-connected cities” which will enjoy even higher speeds up to 100 Mbps.