While those associated with social housing, higher education, local government, and the UK police force are staring into a budget abyss, financial aid for broadband rollouts in rural areas is still in place, and is being topped up by a £300 million (US$474 million) contribution from the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) , though the overall amount being invested falls short of previous targets.
The Chancellor also announced plans to sell mobile broadband spectrum licenses.
Here's what was included in Osborne's Spending Review:
Some think the government could have gone further in helping encourage broadband investments, though. Equipment vendor ADC (Nasdaq: ADCT) points out that the UK's Valuation Office Agency (VOA) still imposes business rates (tax) on fiber networks that makes it hard for network operators other than the largest players, such as BT, to invest in fiber networks, even with government funds.
"The UK government needs to offer a fair and favorable environment for private investment in network infrastructures, not just by supporting the capital build stage, but by helping to miminize operating costs once the networks are up and running," notes ADC's UK managing director Mansel Healy in an emailed statement sent to Light Reading.
He adds: "The current levies charged to operators through the VOA's fiber valuation mean that the broadband roll-outs our country needs are often not commercially viable for many operators. What the government is announcing is effectively subsidising trials and initial capital investment, but increasing running costs through higher taxation of fiber networks." What he would like to see is the government scrapping the "fiber tax" to help increase the "impact and effectiveness of the government's investment."
— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading