BSG comment

DCMS Broadband initiatives feature in Major Projects Authority annual report

Last week saw the publication of the Major Projects Authority annual report, the result of the collaboration between the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury and departments aiming to significantly improving the delivery success rate of major projects across central government through monitoring and the opening up of public data.

Details on the major public broadband initiatives within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport were published as part of this report, and we’ve pulled out some highlights for our readers: (more…)

The curious and ongoing case of national fibre strategies: BSG review recent Arthur D Little report

A recent paper from Arthur D Little has aimed to shed further light on the global conundrum that, despite a number of great macro-economic justifications, private industry has struggled to make the case for national fibre strategies. National Fibre Strategies: National economic imperative or just another private industry task?, presents five models for national fibre strategies, looking at the relationships between very fast speeds, productivity and innovation. The report does not claim to have cast light on causal relationships, but nevertheless its claim that increasing home speed broadband by 1Mbps increases household income by an average of $100 per year is a powerful one. (more…)

Queen's Speech 2013 – broadband business as usual

Today’s Queen’s Speech was, as expected, not full of surprises – both in a general sense and in relation to broadband and technology.

In the context of an overall political message to focus govermment activity in support of a strong, growing and competitive economy whilst building a fair society to reward people who work hard, the major legislative planks formed around immigration, pensions, social care and education.

No name-check to broadband in the Queen’s Speech, refecting the business as usual approach the government has taken for some time in respect of the ongoing programmes in support of broadband rollout.  No mention either to the Communications Bill where we are expecting a White Paper before the summer recess.

Three announcements are however of interest to those in the sector: (more…)

Elevating the case for getting disabled people online

Go ON GoldLast night saw the case put to businesses from across the technology industry to engage with the accessibility agenda, hosted by our partners Intellect. The statistics are certainly compelling – half of all people who have never been online are disabled according to Go ON UK Gold’s Dan Jellinek – and if policy-makers want to get serious about furthering digital inclusion then working with the third sector and those in industry that provide systems, services and content on approaches to accessibility will be crucial. (more…)

Well intended, ultimately burdensome? EC proposes new rules to cut costs

Despite the setbacks faced by the Commissioner Neelie Kroes last month with the significant cut to the Connecting Europe Facility, there is still significant political will to push through the vision of the Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe. Wednesday’s announcement of a series of regulations aimed at ‘burning red tape’ in high-speed broadband roll out across Europe can be seen very much as part of that will in a way which has no direct implications for the EU Budget. (more…)

Budget 2013 – staying the course on broadband

There was next to no mention of broadband in the Chancellor’s budget speech today, and not much more in the full 2013 Budget document itself.

“We’re giving Britain the fastest broadband and mobile telephony in Europe” declared George Osborne and perhaps we should view the lack of additional initiatives flagged in this year’s budget as an indication that Government is staying the course on its previous intentions, albeit ones that do not look beyond 2015 at this stage. (more…)

National average fixed download speed reaches 12Mbps

Last week saw the release of Ofcom’s bi-annual UK fixed-line broadband performance from November 2012, which gave latest figures on residential speeds across ISPs. Much of the recent coverage (including in the Telegraph, BBC and Cable) has focused on the surge in speeds over time, with the main headlines being that the average fixed download speed was 12.0Mbps. This figure was 34% higher than the 9.0Mbps from six months prior, and a whopping 234% faster than the 3.6 Mbps average in November 2008. (more…)

BSG responds to reduced EU spending commitment on broadband

Last Friday saw the conclusion of EU budget negotiations, and as a result the proposed Connecting Europe Facility budget was reduced from €9.2bn to €1bn.

Our CEO, Pamela Learmonth, has responded to this announcement commenting:

“Broadband connectivity is vital to Europe’s future, and in tough economic times the ongoing challenge is to make the best use of resources. The reduction in proposed budget may initially provoke disappointment from some but the EU budget of EUR 1 billion is still a new investment in support of digital services and must also be seen as part of a larger sum of funding across European member states. (more…)

Today is Safer Internet Day 2013

Its the 10th Safer Internet Day today, organised by Insafe each year to promote more responsible use of online technology. It’s a useful initiative aimed at helping parents and carers – particularly those who may be lacking in tech skills – start a conversation with their children with their online behaviours and how to stay safe.

The initiative bring a timely and  sensible focus on  getting parents and carers think realistically about the conversations they are having with their children about going online; a welcome bit of common sense and practical advice in a debate that can, understandably so, become quickly emotive. (more…)

CEO’s update: The stage is set for 2013 to be a huge year for broadband

Hello and welcome to the new-look BSG website. This is the first of a series of monthly updates from me, giving the broadband community an overview of latest developments and trends in the industry whilst looking at those issues on the horizon for this year and beyond.

2013 is set to be a huge year for the broadband policy scene – how do we get fit for purpose infrastructure? What lessons can we learn from demand, take-up and usage? Where should the industry look for new opportunities on the operation and innovation of broadband-enabled services and an evolving regulatory environment? With the rollout of BDUK, 4G auction excitement, a forthcoming Communications White Paper, the weighing up of spectrum issues across the world and debates on universality and digital inclusion rumbling on, 2013 is set to be a big one. (more…)

AT&T propose PSTN phase out

A guest post from Brian Williamson of Plum Consulting.

The June 2008 report by Plum Consulting and the BSG set out a “Framework for evaluating the value of next generation broadband”. One of the six recommendations of the report was that,

“Realising the full value of next generation broadband depends on the extent of transformation of other markets. In considering the private and wider value of next generation broadband, and potential regulatory and public policy barriers to next generation broadband, other platforms and markets should be considered including spectrum, broadcasting, mobile and copper networks.

In particular, the costs and benefits of copper network retirement alongside fibre rollout, and the policy and regulatory environment required, should be considered.” (more…)