LONDON — The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) says up to a fifth of people in rural areas still do not have adequate broadband services. It also says the government is unlikely to meet its goal of providing universal coverage by 2015. But ministers say their broadband programme is firmly on track. The government’s target by 2015 is to ensure universal broadband coverage, offering speeds of at least 2 megabits per second. It also plans to create a superfast network for the majority of the population by the same date. But according to the CLA, progress so far has been very slow and those goals are unlikely to be met, potentially leaving rural communities without adequate broadband access.
AUSTRALIA — Crime syndicates will target mobile phone stores in the days after a new iPhone model is released resulting in a surge of fraudulent contracts, reporting agency Dun & Bradstreet warns. With previous iPhone launches, the syndicates targeted stores in Blacktown and Liverpool in New South Wales, Jimboomba south of Brisbane, and two spots in Victoria — near north Geelong and western Melbourne. There is no evidence that any particular retailer is at risk, apart from those in the hot spots. Fraudulent phone contracts spiked in the two days after the release of the iPhone 4S in late 2011, with a 156 per cent increase in fraud.
EUROPE — European leaders are struggling to overcome a crisis-fighting stalemate as they face discord over a banking union, Greece’s ongoing debate on how to meet bailout commitments and foot-dragging by Spain and Italy on financial aid requests. Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Francois Hollande underlined Franco-German disagreement over the weekend as they clashed on a timetable to introduce joint oversight of the region’s banking sector. Markets that surged this month on the back of a European Central Bank rescue plan and clarity over bailout funding may not offer European leaders the time they need as an easing in market pressure raises the risk of policy complacency. Deadlock over the banking union could delay until next year a key building block in resolving the crisis.