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Budget 2015

Posted by malcolm on Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 at 15:18

Today Chancellor George Osborne unveiled the Budget. Here are some measures of particular interest to the Internet industry:

  • The government will “look to” apply the Universal Service Obligation to broadband connections, at a rate of 5Mbps
  • Spend £600m to clear the 700MHz spectrum, so it can be auctioned for 4G mobile data. The government will also centralise management of public sector spectrum, to help       reduce the time to rationalise use
  • A “new ambition” that ultrafast broadband of at least 100 Megabits per second (Mbps) should be available to nearly all UK premises, the headline point in the Digital communications infrastructure strategy, also published today.
  • The broadband connection voucher scheme, which was extended at Autumn Statement 2014 to March 2016, will be open to small and medium-sized enterprises in a total of 50 cities by 1 April 2015
  • £11m investment for technology incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, and new funding for an incubator in Leeds
  • The government will support a competition to fund a Smart Cities demonstrator as part of the Internet of Things programme to trial and showcase these new technologies
  • Action on on red tape: “The government wants to ensure that regulations do not restrict the creation of valuable and innovative products, services and business models. The government will therefore engage with business to determine where regulations inhibit innovation, including disruptive technologies, and develop a programme for addressing this in the next Parliament”
  • Support for the sharing economy
    • make it easier for individuals to sub-let a room by legislating to prevent the use of clauses in private fixed-term residential tenancy agreements that expressly rule out sub-letting or otherwise sharing space on a short-term basis, and possibly in statutory periodic tenancies too
    • enable government employees to use sharing economy solutions to book accommodation and transport when travelling on official business
    • encourage Local Authorities to use their business rates discretionary relief powers to support the sharing economy, including shared workspaces and makerspaces

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