Government has today launched its consultation on a Universal Service Obligation for broadband. The consultation acknowledges that a USO is a safety net for those who do not have access to super or ultrafast speed to ensure that everyone is able to participate in our digital society. This follows on the Prime Minister’s commitment last year that the UK would have a USO of 10 Mbit/s. This level is backed up by Ofcom in their latest Connected Nations Report.
The Government’s much trumpeted* £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) will close later this month. It has only succeeded in deploying around 60 mobile masts in mobile not-spots at a total cost of under £10m. For those living or commuting through those areas, then the new mobile coverage from all four operators is no doubt eagerly received. But given the project was originally scheduled to deliver between 550-600 sites, there is no doubt it has fallen short of its original goals.
Earlier this month, a survey by the Manufacturer’s Association (EEF) found that internet connectivity was increasingly central to manufacturer’s operations and that Britain’s success in leading the fourth industrial revolution relied on improvements to affordability and internet infrastructure. In a keynote speech at the EEF annual conference today, Business Secretary Sajid Javid announced the review of business broadband “to reduce the barriers to affordable, high-quality fibre-broadband???.
The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) were very pleased to support NextGen2015 latest annual event Costs Down, Value Up: Reviewing Connectivity Infrastructure Investment in the UK that took place last week.
Our Chairman, Richard Hooper, joined an extensive list of speakers including Anna Krzyżanowska – Head of the Broadband Unit at DG CONNECT, Edgar Aker – President FTTH Council Europe, Barney Lane -Director of Regulatory Affairs – Colt Technology Services and Mike Locke – Managing Director Satellite Internet. Richard’s speech, Is the UK on track to meet its digital needs, is replicated in full below.
Getting as many people online and enjoying the benefits of that the internet can bring is an incredibly complex task involving digital skills, attitude and awareness among others. But in many ways the first step is ensuring that the underlying connectivity is available to them. In this light the Government’s desire to “make sure that every home and business can have access to fast broadband by the end of this Parliament??? is to be welcomed.
Every year the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a body set up by the ITU and UNESCO in 2010, sets out its annual report on the state of the global broadband industry. The headline from this year’s was that outside of some pockets such as mobile broadband, overall growth in internet take-up and usage is slowing; a concern when by the end of this year just 43.4% of the global population will be online.
Analysys Mason today published a report comparing the UK’s fixed telecoms market to the five major European countries and several other leading digital countries. It found that the UK is currently ahead of its European competitors on measures such as average speed*, superfast broadband coverage and take-up and will soon be outperforming countries such as Japan and the USA.
Ofcom today published their annual Communications Market Report which as usual is packed full of figures and data on the state of play in television, radio, telecoms, internet content and postal sectors. Most of the headline have focused on the number of selfies we are taking and the realisation that smartphones are now the most popular device for getting online.
The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) will launch a report undertaken by Communications Chambers into the connectivity requirements of small businesses on 2 September.