Think tank slams plan to splash out on UK broadband arms race

GOVERNMENT spending on broadband infrastructure has been criticised by an influential think tank, which claims ministers should instead focus on educating people about internet connections.

In a report published today, the Policy Exchange is calling for culture secretary Maria Miller to “end the broadband arms race” and stop the “fixation with having the fastest broadband speeds in the world”. Instead, the think tank believes the money should be spent on encouraging small businesses to use the internet effectively, rather than merely having access to the highest speeds.

The report will chime with concerns made by Virgin Media, the UK’s second biggest broadband provider by subscribers, which has recently written to Miller calling for a rethink of the government’s broadband spending plans.

Virgin Media has criticised the £150m plan for building superfast broadband networks in urban areas, claiming that with better management from authorities, any proven demand could be met by the private sector.

The author of the Policy Exchange’s report, Chris Yiu, said: “The government’s current spending plans will extend fast broadband to the vast majority of people. Any further public money should be spent on making sure we are putting this to good use.

“It’s far from clear that your taxes should help to pay for me to have an even faster connection.”