BSG comment

Europe-wide survey shows bundling trend and growing appetite for switching

New data was released last week in the European Commission’s latest E-Communications Household Survey, which contains the results of questions put to consumers in member states on areas ranging from the quality and different types of telephone and internet access, penetration of communication service packages, sensitivity to connection speed, affordability and the transparency of communication service pricing.

The headline on bundling is that 45% of EU households purchase a bundle of communication services, a proportion that has risen continuously over the last few years, with the Internet the service which is most likely to be purchased as part of a bundle. Bulgaria (+13) and Luxembourg (+13) saw the greatest increases in bundle purchases. Making up that 45% figure includes triple-play penetration at 16% and quad-play at 3%. (more…)

Investing in Britain’s Broadband Future – Government provides further detail on a post-2015 vision

Whilst yesterday’s Spending Round had scant mention of broadband, this morning’s Investing in Britain’s Future publication on Infrastructure from the Treasury shed further light on the Government’s vision for broadband post-2015.

In his speech to parliament, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said he wanted UK communities to be better connected.  This was reflected in £250m funds for fixed superfast broadband, targeted to cover 95% of the population by 2017 (building on the Government’s current target of 90% by 2015). This £250m comes as part of the £300m that had been previously been allocated for broadband from the TV licence fee in the period 2015-2017 (with the remaining £50m remaining uncommitted).


BSG issue response to DCMS and DCLG consultation on mobile connectivity

Today the Broadband Stakeholder Group submitted its response to proposals aimed at boosting the roll-out of mobile and mobile broadband, issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The BSG supports the main tenants and objectives of the proposals but recommends that the government may wish to go further on:

  • Ensuring infrastructure upgrades in non-protected areas can occur under permitted development, without the need for prior approval, to support an efficient 4G roll-out process
  • Further ease restrictions in protected areas to support improved connectivity in rural and hard to reach areas

The response also offers some additional proposals focused on how to support anticipated new infrastructure in support of mobile connectivity, in addition to the proposals to support upgrade of existing infrastructure.

Read the full response to the consultation here.

Unanswered questions remain on digital scope of Draft Consumer Rights Bill

The Draft Consumer Rights Bill has now been published, following its announcement in the 2013 Queen’s Speech last month. This will be of particular interest to the broadband community in light of its aim to update consumer protection to keep up with technological developments, particularly in regard to digital purchases.

The Bill has been touted by BIS minister Jo Swinson as “enhancing consumer rights and making them easier to understand, which will boost the economy by £4 billion over the next decade???, and will now cover the repair or replacement of faulty digital content such as film and music downloads, online games and e-books. (more…)

BitTorrent use drops as innovations in Video-on-Demand re-shape traffic stats

Consultants Sandvine published a report last month observing an emerging pattern that many suspect will become the norm in consumer traffic habits. That is that the use of BitTorrent – the practice of peer-to-peer file sharing, and the protocol often associated with the illegal download of copyrighted material – is waning. In the words of the authors, “We believe as more over-the-top Real-Time Entertainment (RTE) sources are made available to subscribers in the future, the rate of decline in share will begin to accelerate.???

As the report highlights, Netflix’s market leadership in RTE continues to dominate the American market, accounting for almost a third of peak downstream traffic on fixed networks, with share on mobile doubling in the last year. Elsewhere, YouTube is still the largest single source of RTE traffic on both fixed and mobile – yes, YouTube is still the leading source of Internet traffic in the entire world.

The report considers global trends, but I have picked out a number of highlights relevant for the European market:


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…)