Home » News » Affordable broadband and digital skills at heart of new UK strategy

Affordable broadband and digital skills at heart of new UK strategy

Thursday, 2 March, 2017

A new government forum has been launched to get more businesses online with fast, reliable and affordable broadband.

The long-awaited Digital Skills Partnership finally arrived on Wednesday 1 March to put the UK at the centre of tech innovation.

A ‘Business Connectivity Forum’ will be chaired by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Affordable broadband and digital skills office worker

The launch was originally due in 2016 but suffered repeated delays due to market confusion and concerns over the impact of Brexit.

The plan sets out what the Government will do over the next five years to plug skills gaps and invest in better digital infrastructure.

In 2015 the former Prime Minister David Cameron announced a Universal Service Obligation giving all UK citizens the legal right to receive a minimum of 10Mbps broadband speed.

The DCMS has now pledged to link up with banks, charities and businesses to offer four million free training opportunities to adults across the country.

Businesses struggle to find affordable broadband

Affordable broadband is still a major issue for UK businesses despite the government’s £1bn Autumn Statement pledge in November 2016 to accelerate the roll-out of 5G mobile and full-fibre broadband.

Chancellor Phillip Hammond also promised that from April 2017 the government would also provide five years of 100% business rates relief for full-fibre infrastructure.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has pledged £1bn for better, more affordable broadband

Major firms including BT and Google have now signed up to boost digital skills “to ensure everyone has the skills they need to flourish in a digitally-driven economy”.

Barclays – which launched its ‘Digital Eagles’ programme in 2014 to teach senior citizens how to get to grips with the internet – has announced it will offer training in basic coding to 45,000 more children.

BT will expand its Barefoot Computing Project to allow 500,000 more children to develop early computational thinking skills by the end of 2018.

Lloyds Banking Group added that they would offer face-to-face digital training to 2.5 million people by 2020.

Google Trends training for digital skills

Britain ‘best place’ to start digital business

Launching the strategy, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “The UK’s world-leading digital sectors are a major driver of growth and productivity.

“This sets a path to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology or undertake research as part of the Government’s plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation.

“There should be no digital divide – every individual and every business should have the skills and confidence to make the most of digital technology and have easy access to high-quality internet wherever they live, work, travel or learn.”

Tom Rodgers author picture

By:

Tom is a tech journalist and former Editor at BroadbandDeals.co.uk.

News What's the story?

Keep up with the latest developments in UK broadband.

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so far

It’s been a year few of us will forget in a hurry. As the end of June approaches, we review the biggest malware threats of 2020 so far

The biggest malware threats of 2020…so farThe biggest malware threats of 2020…so far Read more

Instagram could become the main news source for young people.

Reuters finds changes in the way younger users consume the news.

Read more

BT launches second line service

BT launches second broadband home line service for the new crop of home workers.

Read more

Best broadband areas for online gaming in the UK.

Read more

Help Learn with us

Make the most of the internet with our broadband library.

How to check if your broadband is down

It might seem obvious that an outage has occurred, but there are easy ways to check if your broadband is down, or whether the problem is more localised

How to check if your broadband is downHow to check if your broadband is down Read more

A guide to Big Tech alternatives.

It seems like we’re reliant on a small group of companies, are there alternatives?

Read more

Quick tips for boosting home broadband speed

Boosting speed can transform activities like streaming, gaming and accessing cloud storage

Read more

What’s the difference between hardware, firmware and software?

Read more