Ofcom to survey duct infrastructure use for delivery of next generation broadband

Ofcom to survey duct infrastructure use for delivery of next generation broadband

In a speech to the IET yesterday, Ofcom CEO Ed Richards announced that Ofcom would undertake a sample survey of underground ducting infrastructure to understand its potential use for the rollout of next generation broadband in the UK.

Speaking at the reception, Mr Richards said,

“Super-fast broadband – next generation access and networks – are crucial to the UK’s future. These networks form part of the critical infrastructure of the country’s economy and will be central to the way we live our lives in the future.

I believe that super-fast next generation broadband will come to change our perception of communications radically; alongside mobile broadband, it will in time have a similar impact upon our society and economy as we have seen with first generation broadband. So we must prepare now.

Given the remarkable results from recent French surveys, we need to establish what the position is here and whether or not duct access has a role to play in the development of competitive next-generation access. So, in cooperation with operators we intend to undertake a sample survey of the existing duct network.

We are well aware that there are significant issues related to this in the broader telecoms market and that careful consideration will need to be given to these, alongside the results of the survey.

And, working with the Caio Review, we will also be asking whether there is scope to secure commercially viable access for fibre deployment through the primary infrastructure networks of other utilities such as water and energy. We must be sure we are not missing a big trick here. We know that a lot of the costs are in the civil engineering and this is civil engineering of a very similar kind.”

Full speech transcript – Ofcom CEO Ed Richards

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