In case you missed it, there is an election going on in the UK 🙂 While the British Government has delivered a pre-election budget, I wasn’t interested in the alcohol duty (don’t drink such beverages) and glad to see the fuel duty is frozen. But it was the reference to technology that peaked my interest this time around.
The UK is home to some of the greatest minds delivering awesome innovations over several years. While it is often viewed as one of the best places to innovate it is also home to suffering average UK broadband speeds of 17.8Mb/s (Ofcom, Nov. 2014).
But that looks like it is set to change. With this budget there are intentions to ensure all homes and businesses have a minimum of 100MB/s, as described in their ‘national ambition‘ statement with both Virgin Media and BT backing that up by committing to bringing speeds up to 500MB/s to most of the UK over the remainder of this decade. But we’ve heard this before. Intending to get 90% of homes with ‘superfast broadband‘ (defined by the government as 24MBps or more) was promised last year. But being the eternal optimist, there shouldn’t be anything preventing this from being delivered this year, right?
Another notable item being included was to clear the spectrum frequencies at 700MHz . What does this mean for us? This should deliver better mobile networks, in turn offering better quality broadcast TV for mobile services for us to consume. And with Apple making a play for delivering such media services over the wire (rumored to be in talks with Fox, CBS and Discovery networks), the investment of near £600m to free up this spectrum will help grow this particular vertical.
This is all great news, but what’s fascinating for me is the inclusion of the ‘Internet of Things‘ being mentioned in the budget. Is this just lip service or a genuine intention to ensure the UK ‘keeps up with the Joneses’? Time will tell. All in all, it’s a step in the right direction and if the Wearables 2015 show I recently attended demonstrated anything, this is a growth area that the UK needs to lead where possible to maintain it’s reputation as a country of innovation.
Asad Malik, @asadmaliksimba