Planning shake-up speeds up broadband roll-out

By Giles Broadbent on September 7, 2012 4:23 PM |

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Moves to change planning regulations may speed up the roll-out of superfast broadband, high on the wishlist of Tech City entrepreneurs and Docklands residents.

The new culture secretary has unveiled a raft of proposals to cut red tape which threatened to hamper plans to turn east London into a world-class hi-tech cluster.

Councils will be forced to accept street cabinets which means telecoms companies can respond quicker to demand and push ahead with infrastructure projects.

Making the upgrade simpler and cheaper would mean the project could roll out "faster and further," according to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

Maria Miller took over from Jeremy Hunt as culture secretary in this week's Cabinet reshuffle.

She said: "The government means business and we are determined to cut through the bureaucracy that is holding us back.

"Superfast broadband is key to boosting economic growth, but the delivery of this vital business infrastructure is being held up by unnecessary bureaucracy in the planning system, jeopardising the country's economic recovery."

The changes would also make it easier for telecoms companies to dig up the streets to instal cable.

Andrew Ferguson, editor of Thinkbroadband.com said: "We welcome changes to the wayleave legislation, which can result in one person, landlord or business holding up a major infrastructure project, or making it totally uneconomic, but we would like to see more detail to ensure that home owners are not going to be forced to give up land without the ability for a fair objection and compensation."

The Government is investing £680 million to ensure the UK has the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015.