Ofcom research on connectivity in UK cities published

Much of the focus on improving access to the internet has been understandably focused on rural areas. However, research undertaken for Ofcom by Analysys Mason not only shows that slow broadband and Next Generation Access (NGA) availability affect a significant minority of households in urban areas – but that these households tend to be those on the lowest incomes.

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New PAC report on rural broadband programme

Today the Public Accounts Committee publishes another report on the government’s rural broadband programme.

This latest report from the PAC reinforces previous views it has articulated about the scheme. Namely the lack of competition in supply of services following the procurement process, the need for improvement in cost transparency, processes to ensure value for money and the need for further detail on roll-out plans. Continue reading

New BSG report reveals SMEs are not capitalising on potential of broadband and technology

A new report published today by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) identifies that SMEs are not yet unlocking the commercial potential of online activity and new technologies.

The report entitled Capitalising on Connectivity: Realising the benefits of broadband for UK Small and Medium Sized Enterprises identifies that despite estimates that increasing the digital capabilities of the UK’s SMEs can unlock economic returns of £18.8 billion (ref 1) evidence tells us that SMEs are not capitalising as best they might on this lever for economic growth (ref 2).

This report considers current data on SME engagement with connectivity, policy initiatives to support SME use of broadband and technology, alongside new BSG research.

It makes five recommendations regarding how to better understand SME use of technology and incentivise further take-up and exploitation of connectivity: Continue reading

CEO’s monthly update – infrastructure and usage looks longer-term

Pamela LearmonthThe beginning of February saw the Department of Culture, Media and Sport issue the Terms of Reference of their Digital Communications Infrastructure Strategy, a piece due for full publication by the end of 2014 which will consider what steps need to be taken to ensure that the UK has the right infrastructure in place to meet the needs of users in 2025-30 and ensure that the UK remains a leading digital nation. We are pleased that our 2014 programme of work can play an important role in helping industry and government work together on assessing these longer term needs beyond the current BDUK rollout, so watch this space for further information and inputs on the strategy.

And that wasn’t the only piece of work looking at the longer-term picture in the UK, as the BSG took at trip to Speaker’s House for the launch of a report from the Tinder Foundation and Go ON UK, which costed a digitally included Britain for the first time. A Leading Digital Nation by 2020 estimated that national commitment to ensure basic online skills for everyone by 2020 would cost £875 million – an annual investment of £146 million over a 6-year period. These efforts in costing are to be welcomed as we consider how tackling digital inclusion can drive greater social and economic benefits from broadband-enabled use, an issue the BSG will continue to look at. Continue reading