BBC may have broadband funding role

Sunday, March 15 2009, 09:31 GMT

The BBC may have a funding role to play in bringing broadband services to parts of the country not served by BT or Virgin Media, according to communications minister Lord Carter.

Giving evidence to the business and enterprise committee of the House of Commons, Lord Carter suggested that the BBC may be asked to contribute funds for the build-out of a next generation fibre network in areas not covered by existing commercial rollout plans.

"More and more people get their media from the internet and that usage is doubling every two years," he said. "Would the nation's state-funded content provider have a role in this? It would seem to me it would."

The interim Digital Britain report released in January, which covered topics ranging from the future of Channel 4 to the development of broadband services in the UK, specified that a 2Mbps broadband service would form part of the universal service obligation, with extra public money used to fund the provision if necessary.