Final Third First calls on Government to use public sector savings to fund the Fourth Utility

Following the budget statement, new broadband campaign group Final Third First is calling on the Government to use the big savings it forecasts through implementing new digital technology to fund the provision of superfast broadband for all by 2017.
A spokesman for Final Third First said: “As with water, gas and electricity, broadband is now a public good and the essential fourth utility. The people have the right to demand ubiquitous connectivity that is effectively funded.
The Government has made clear its determination to realise significant savings through reduced costs made possible through new digital communications technology.
Would it not make more sense for these savings to fund the rollout of superfast broadband to all in the country ? The 30% or more of the UK where market-driven failure is predicted for so-called Next Generation Access (NGA) must be the first to receive public sector intervention and support, and this intervention needs to happen urgently.
It is absolutely crucial that the significant savings through e-government services are captured. We fear that with no overall and clear strategy the opportunities will be lost, and lost forever. If the fourth utility is not universal – to every person – the Government cannot realise the savings of its paperless dreams. What is now becoming obvious is that without the necessary investment to connect the final third any savings envisaged by the Government will simply fade away. Put simply, any next generation fund must cater for the final third of the country first.
Surely it makes both economic and social sense to bring superfast connectivity to the digitally-deprived final third of the UK ? Once we have a quality performance digital infrastructure in place for those unable to receive broadband today then those who are currently digitally privileged can be upgraded.  It is the only strategy to avoid discrimination and ensure long-term digital inclusion for all.
This is multi-discipline engineering – for which the UK is renowned – so let’s get on and do it”.
  1. DavidGaleIndependent
    March 24, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Hear, hear! A state-owned, privately maintained and leased-back national fibre network makes even more sense when you look at the feasibility of shared public-sector IT infrastructure. Private sector comms costs make regional IT service centres unsustainable. Do us all a favour and start what should have been started ten years ago with the e-Gov funding. The longer you put it off, the more painful it will be…

    • March 24, 2010 at 4:48 pm

      Hi David, We are all trying, and working together we will get through to the government of the day how important it is to do this job right.

  2. March 25, 2010 at 10:36 am

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8584873.stm
    link to Darling’s budget speech relating to broadband. Only 37 seconds…

  1. March 26, 2010 at 1:16 pm

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