Broaden your horizons

According to government figures broadband is now available to over 75 % of the UK population, and it seems quite a few of us are taking advantage of this. At the end of July there were 2.3 million broadband users and this figure is growing by around 30,000 every week as new users sign up.

While communications minister Stephen Timms said that he was pleased with the growth of broadband availability, he admitted that more work needed to be done to roll it out to less accessible areas. "We are in no position to be complacent. We still need to improve access for those living in more rural locations," he said.

The government's stated aim is to make the UK the "most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005". To this end it plans to invest £1bn in public sector broadband connectivity over the next three years. It's also establishing nine Regional Aggregation Bodies, in October to allow it to bulk buy broadband for the public sector, in an attempt to get better value for money.

To ensure high-speed internet reaches more remote locations it has set up two management groups. The Rural Broadband Unit will focus on bringing broadband to rural areas, while the Remote Access Broadband Inclusion Trial (Rabbit) is trialing wireless and satellite broadband services.

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