Rural broadband could get a huge boost post-Brexit, according to the UK’s Environmental Secretary Michael Gove due to funding allocation.
The UK could achieve the boost as the country can allocate a substantial amount of money freed from EU contribution. Gove has said that the money can be used to address domestic priorities which will improve rural broadband and connectivity.
Addressing delegates at the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) Farming Conference 2018, Gove said that the government will boost broadband and 4G mobile coverage in rural areas by investing billions of pounds once the UK exits from the EU.
Gove said: “Of course inside the EU, rules on state aid have prevented us from investing in broadband in a way that is best for the UK. Outside the EU, just one fifth of our annual net contribution to the EU could transform our national infrastructure.”
Gove compared the connectivity in the rural town of Kenya, to have better mobile coverage than of that found in some parts of Kent. The Environmental Secretary also claimed that just one-fifth of the annual contribution made by the UK to the EU is enough to transform the national infrastructure.
Gove said: “It is unjustifiable that in the country that first guaranteed universal mail provision, invented the telephone and television and pioneered the World Wide Web that broadband provision is so patchy and poor in so many areas.”
In addition to this primary complaints, he also accused the EU of putting curbs on the way the UK has been making its investments in broadband through its rules on state aid. Thereby, he indicated that the UK hasn’t been allowed to invest in broadband connectivity, the way it would have liked.
The Environment Secretary said: “The Prime Minister has made clear that the days of the UK making vast annual contributions to the EU will be over. And when we leave the EU we can put that money towards domestic priorities, like making our digital infrastructure work by improving rural broadband and connectivity overall.”
Gove said that broadband has become a necessary infrastructure in the modern times, and is as essential as power and clean drinking water. On the brighter side, he said that the UK has made progress by increasing the availability of super-fast broadband to 95% of premises by 2017 end from what was 65% in 2010. He also said that the government has committed to make high speed broadband accessible to all by 2020 and mobile coverage to 95% by 2022.