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UK pledges speediest broadband Internet service in EU by 2015

Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt announces push towards fastest service in Europe in mere 3 years - but controversy about prioritizing speed over access remains

Internet 2012 04 15Enlarge
Reporters use laptop computers, iPads and paper and pen to take notes during a panel discussion organized by NetCoalition about the Protection IP Act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) at the US Capitol on Jan. 19, 2012. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Think your Internet service could be faster? British Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt agrees - and he's pledged that the UK will have the fastest Broadband service in the EU by 2015, if he has his way. 

"I am today announcing an ambition to be not just the best overall, but specifically the fastest broadband of any major European country," Hunt told a group of Broadband experts, reported the Guardian. 

"Getting the plumbing right for our digital economy is not just an advantage to consumers – it is also essential for our digital and creative industries, all of whom need reliable high-speed networks to develop and export their products as they move large digital files around the world."

Read more from GlobalPost: Google Fiber unveiled: 100 times faster than Broadband 

Fast connections are important to the British economy: in March, a study found that the Internet contributes to the UK's GDP more than any other G20 nation, reported SkyNews. Further, if the Internet were its own sector, it would be the 5th largest in the nation. 

The announcement comes on the heels of a study that found 57% of British businessowners said lousy connections affected them—and pointed out that the infamous British rural/urban Internet gulf remains a real problem, reported FreshBusinessThinking.com.

Read more from GlobalPost: Porn filters on UK's mobile phones cause censorship 

Hunt's pledge is also controversial, as it seems to prioritize enhanced speed over extending access to everyone: the House of Lords communication committee released a report at the end of July stating that the UK's priority should be "closing the digital divide," reported the BBC. 

The Lords report also warned against becoming "preoccupied with the delivery of certain speeds," the BBC added. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120821/uk-pledges-speediest-broadband-internet-service-e