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Ultra-fast digital infrastructure in the UK: are we missing a trick?

This paper looks at the ultra-fast infrastructure investment decision government has to make to secure the UK’s digital future

This paper looks at the ultra-fast infrastructure investment decision government has to make to secure the UK’s digital future.

The UK government is caught between a rock and a hard place: it needs to show long–term commitment to upgrading the UK’s digital infrastructure to ensure its industries can continue to innovate and compete with the likes of those in Korea, Japan and Singapore; but it cannot justify spending billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money when the full future benefits of ultra–fast speeds are impossible to foresee. However, the government need not be paralysed when faced with this quandary. We propose that it invests in the form of a £100 million Ultra–fast Digital Infrastructure Demonstrator Fund for creative and tech clusters to test the efficacy of new technologies and applications and measure customer demand.

This policy paper accompanies a Nesta report by Rob Kenny, Communications Chambers, which explores the costs and benefits of  fibre to the home in the UK and forms the basis of debate for the event Ultra-fast digital infrastructure in the UK: are we missing a trick? on Tuesday 17 March 2015.

Policy recommendations:

The Government should set up a targeted demonstrator programme of at least £100 million to support the adoption of ultra–high–speed digital infrastructure in the UK’s creative clusters – on the basis that these places are best positioned to be the earliest to exploit these speeds. Adopters would be tracked, with the advent of any benefits acting as a trigger to government and the private sector for consideration of wider spread roll out.

Authors

George Windsor

George Windsor

George Windsor

Senior Policy Researcher

George was a Senior Policy Researcher in the Creative and Digital Economy team.

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Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Hasan Bakhshi

Centre Director, Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC); and Executive Director, Creative Economy and Data Analytics, Nesta

Hasan oversees Nesta's creative economy policy, research and practical work.

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