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Minister 'C*nt' promises £50m to get fabtastic fibre for all

The BBC's naughty Naughtie tongue-slip

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Culture minister Jeremy Hunt has promised £50m in extra funding to put "a fibre point in every community in the UK by the end of the Parliament".

Although he acknowledged that moving the UK from its poor position in world superfast broadband rankings to nearer the top would require a mix of technologies, he said pushing fibre deeper into the national network would be crucial.

He announced an extra £50m in funding for the second wave testing of market tests for superfast broadband from May next year - local groups have until April to propose new tests.

He said the coalition government had had constructive discussions with BT.

As a result Hunt announced a one Gigabit per second trial in Kesgrave near Ipswich from early next year, including 40 rural, market towns in the next phase of deployment in late 2011, early 2012. The minister also said that BT had signalled that it would match the government's £830m with a "similar" investment.

He said this, according to BT's reckoning, would give 85 to 90 per cent of the country access to superfast broadband.

The budget includes the underspent money from the digital switchover.

Hunt said the network would benefit not just business but allow other improvements like telemedicine, social and other public services too.

An Ofcom report last month put the UK near the bottom, alongside China, of the world rankings for superfast connections.

Jim Naughtie, presenter of the BBC's Today programme, was forced to apologise to listeners this morning for a "slip of the tongue" in which he described Jeremy Hunt using a rude word which rhymes with the minister's surname - as the vid above shows. ®

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