Britain stuck in broadband slow lane

Jeremy Hunt, the Shadow Culture Secretary, says Britain is stuck in the broadband “superhighway slow lane”. He is calling on urgent action to help protect and grow the UK’s creative industries.

Jeremy Hunt (pictured), the Shadow Culture Secretary, says Britain is stuck in the broadband “superhighway slow lane”. He is calling on urgent action to help protect and grow the UK’s creative industries.

In a speech today (January 9) at a meeting with industry figures from telecoms companies, broadband providers and music and film figures, the Tory frontbench spokesman says it is paramount that industries including advertising, film and music have access to super-fast broadband in order to maintain the UK’s leading position in the global market.

In his “Next Generation Broadband” speech, he said if in power the Conservative Party would create next generation businesses and reiterated Tory leader David Cameron’s pledge that at least 50% of the population would have access to fibre optic broadband within five years and as near as possible universal coverage within 10 years.

He asked why are we in the superhighway slow lane? and criticised what he called the Government’s policy of all talk but no action.

He pointed to Ofcom’s study into broadband released yesterday, adding that in terms of speed Britain was 21st in the league.

He also said that in the midst of a recession it is far more important to invest heavily, particularly with creative industries making up 8% of GDP, which is only second behind the financial services sector.

“This is a far greater opportunity for the UK than for other countries.”

Singling out advertising, Hunt added: “The global advertising industry, centred in London and New York, is going through a very, very tough period at the moment because of the advertising recession, but also because of technology changes such as PVRs.

“What the ad industry needs to do to thrive is embrace new technology and be able to develop new interactive advertising solutions.”

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