UK Appeal For Help in Rural Broadband Roll-Out

UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt will appeal to the UK telecoms industry for help in increasing the availability of broadband in the country at the government's forthcoming Industry Day summit in London.

Around 80 companies are expect to attend the event on Thursday 15 July, reports The Guardian newspaper.

The summit will discuss ways to bridge the digital divide, and debate the future of super-fast broadband in the UK. The government has set a target of rolling out broadband connections of at least 2Mbps across the whole of the UK by 2012, with super-fast broadband being rolled out by 2015.

The government hopes that telecoms providers will team up with local authorities, as BT has done in Kent, in order to roll out broadband to so-called "not-spots" in rural areas. Rural roll-out was to be financed by a 50p-a-month broadband tax proposed by the previous Labour government, which has since been scrapped by the new Conservative-Liberal coalition.

The government's broadband drive comes after UK's digital champion, Martha Lane Fox, who first rose to fame as founder of travel web site Lastminute.com, launched the 'Networked Nation' programme, which will aim to bring broadband access to those who have never ventured online.