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December 5, 2011

BT hosts PM and Cabinet ‘away day’; outlines UK’s broadband future

The Prime Minister and Cabinet visited BT's R&D headquarters to check on the UK's high speed broadband rollout

By Allan Swann

Prime Minister David Cameron and his Cabinet took a tech ‘away day’ at BT’s research headquarters in Adastral Park, Suffolk. As part of the Prime Minister’s push to focus on technology and manufacturing, he toured the facility before chairing a Cabinet meeting on site.

BT chief executive Ian Livingston escorted the Prime Minister and outlined the company’s goal to assist the government’s pledge to give the UK Europe’s fastest broadband by 2015.

According to UKAP, Mr Cameron was shown some of the latest developments in health technology.

"The big challenge for the whole country is to get the economy growing and provide jobs for young people," Mr Cameron said.

"We have got to broaden the economy so that it is not just centred upon financial services but also manufacturing, aerospace and technology – we need to be making things and selling them to the world."

BT is investing £2.5 billion in fibre-optics to connect two-thirds of the UK’s 25m homes with super-fast broadband to match the Government’s goal of 90% of UK homes and businesses with internet connections of 2Mbps by 2015. Mr Livingstone said that fibre based services could see could see this as high as 100Mbps or above.

Mr. Livingston also assured Cabinet that the company’s investment would see the number of homes unable to achieve more than 2Mbps fall from 12% to 2%.

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"Super-fast broadband can be a catalyst for economic growth. We have recently recruited a further 800 engineers to help deploy it but it is what it can do for business that is so impressive. The Government has been a great supporter in recognising that this type of infrastructure investment can drive the UK’s long term growth," he said.

Most service providers, such as TalkTalk still have to ‘piggy-back’ off the BT network as it still owns the majority of the country’s telecommunications infrastructure, so the build affects the industry as a whole. Competitors such as Virgin and Fujitsu have both invested in their own infrastructure builds; Virgin has spent £13bn on its fibre optic network, while Fujitsu is building a fibre optic network network to serve 5 million homes in rural Britain.

Email:allan.swann@industryreview.com
twitter: @allanswann

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