In Brief

Ultrafast broadband: Budget boost for high-speed web

Chancellor promises ultrafast broadband for all and says he will invest in the 'internet of things'

Almost every home in the country will have access to ultrafast broadband under proposals to extend 100Mbps web connections across the UK.

Announcing the plan in today's Budget, George Osborne said an existing scheme that used satellite and other advanced technologies to link remote homes to the internet would be accelerated. About 1.5 million homes will benefit from faster connections, the government said.

The Chancellor also pledged to support the development of the "internet of things" – a system that will connect devices to one another to perform tasks with minimal or no human interaction.

"This is the next stage of the information revolution, connecting up everything from urban transport to medical devices to household appliances," Osborne said.

He went on to make a joke at the expense of opposition leader Ed Miliband, who was recently lampooned for having two kitchens. "So should – using a completely ridiculous example – someone have two kitchens, they will be able to control both fridges from the mobile phone."

The government pledged to ensure that 95 per cent of the population has access to high-speed internet by 2017.

Last week, Osborne championed new subsidies as part of an ambitious program to keep British internet speeds ahead of its European rivals.

"Wherever you live in Britain you should have ultrafast broadband – and we are going to make it happen," he said. 

Both BT and Virgin have announced that they intend to support the government's proposed roll-out. BT claims that it can now deliver ultrafast broadband – with speeds four times quicker than "superfast" – via its existing copper-based network, The Times reports. If the technology works, the new quicker internet is expected to reach most UK homes by the end of the decade.

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