BSG welcomes the Government's response to its recommendations but warns of the many challenges aheadbsg
Government Signs up to Broadband Challenge
20 March 2003
The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the Government’s key advisory group on broadband, today welcomed the Government’s response to its strategic recommendations for the delivery of Broadband Britain but warned of the many challenges that lie ahead in implementing these proposals.
Keith Todd, Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) said, “This is a very positive announcement. In our report last year, the BSG set out a full and testing agenda which the government has now signed up to. The Government has shown real ambition and has taken on a tough challenge –delivering these actions on time is not going to be easy. However the BSG is committed to making sure that they deliver all of the actions in this report.”
The BSG warned that timescales are tight, and the barriers to progress should not be underestimated. For example, the UK has so far made slow progress in the rollout of wireless broadband technologies, which will be vital for extending broadband coverage to rural areas. “Unleashing the potential of wireless is absolutely essential for Broadband Britain, but there are some real commercial and regulatory barriers that need to be overcome, particularly around the provision and assignment of suitable spectrum,” said Antony Walker, CEO of the BSG. “By committing to the development of a broadband wireless action plan the government has recognised the need for much more concerted work in this area.”
With regard to the Government’s plans to aggregate funds for more efficient purchasing of broadband for health and education departmental initiatives, the BSG warns that the Government will need to move at the speed of the fastest broadband mover, lest its initiatives become bogged down and deadlines are missed. The DTI’s Broadband Task Force has a vital role to play in setting out a clear framework for how aggregation is going to be achieved.
“The government will have to remain very focused if it is to deliver many of the commitments made in this report” said Walker. “I am particularly pleased with their decision to commit more resources to project managing their broadband strategy. This programme is vital to the UK’s long term competitiveness and needs to be central to the government’s e-agenda.”