By Claire West

Following the Government’s announcement regarding the roll-out of superfast broadband today, Doug Richard airs his views.
A founding Dragons’ Den panellist and serial entrepreneur with over 20 years experience in tech and digital business, Doug has been leading the discussion about the importance of superfast broadband as a key driver of the UK’s economic recovery for over a year.

He had the following comment to make on Jeremy Hunt’s announcement:

“Earlier this year I wrote the Entrepreneurs Manifesto in the hope that the incoming government would recognize that the economic recovery depends on two pillars: deficit reduction and economic growth. The second in turn depends upon a series of key initiatives. One of the most important is a 21st century infrastructure. Just as the railways defined the industrial age; the internet and the fibre optics on which it runs will define the communication age. In this regard, the UK is woefully far behind.
Doug wrote previously that, "we must recognize the centrality of connectedness in the competition amongst nations. The United Kingdom must wire itself and do so urgently. Just as our roads and trains are a public service and a natural monopoly, so too is true broadband. True broadband is not 1MB of information trickling down to some of our homes; it is 1 GB to every doorstep in this country. It is the key infrastructure that will kindle a wave of creative destruction and increased wealth that will match the industrial revolution. It will reduce the stress on our crowded transport systems, it will re-vitalize neglected sections of our nation, it will place the key tools in place to amplify and distribute scarce resources in education and health care. And it is achievable now."

“Jeremy Hunt's announcement today achieves none of these ends and is a stark reminder that the government does not understand that all of its departments have an over-riding mission to ignite the recovery of the economy. His principal responsibility in that joint effort is to create the competitive framework that will drive fast broadband. Today's announcement is a signal failure to accomplish that.”