Thursday, March 31, 2011

UK - Government promises superfast broadband in its new enterprise zones

[pc pro] The Government has promised superfast broadband to 21 business-friendly zones under the new budget.

Unveiling the budget, Chancellor George Osborne revealed the Government would create 21 urban "Enterprise Zones". Aside from tax breaks and planning considerations, the zones will all feature superfast broadband, Osborne said.

The budget promises "Government support to ensure superfast broadband is rolled out in the zone. This will be achieved through guaranteeing the most supportive planning environment and, if necessary, public funding."

It wasn't made clear whether that money would come from previously promised funds, or how the Government would define superfast broadband. As the first zones are largely urban, they will likely already have solid broadband connections.

The first Enterprise Zones will be established in Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, and the Tees Valley, as well as the West of England, North East, and the Black Country. The London location is yet to be named, while the other 10 will be open for bidding from interested communities.

The Government also boosted the R&D tax credit for small businesses to 200% from April 2011, and 225% from April 2012, to encourage investment.

From an education standpoint, the Government will fund 80,000 work experience placements and 50,000 apprenticeships over the next four years, and establish 24 new technical colleges by 2014.

Government promises superfast broadband business zones

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