Shadow Minister Helen Goodman MP addressed the Broadband Stakeholder Group on Tuesday 16 July 2013 on communications and broadband policy post-2015. Following Labour’s announcement that they would invest £75 million in a new programme that would focus on getting more people online and improving digital skills provision if they won the next election, Helen Goodman MP spoke on her vision for digital inclusion, infrastructure, skills, the role of mobile, and more.
A Storify of the #OneDigitalNation twitter conversation is available here.
The Broadband Stakeholder Group is pleased to be a partner of the Broadband World Forum 2013, being held in Amsterdam. (more…)
The conference was held on 09 September at the Delfina in Southwark, and was supported by Analysys Mason.
In the context of increasing net neutrality policy activity within the UK, the EU, and North America, this conference looked at:
- Consumer demand for higher-quality internet-based services and applications and the future evolution of these services
- Technical bottlenecks that get in the way of the delivery of these services to the end-user and potential solutions
- Commercial challenges and potential solutions to support the delivery of high quality services
- The regulatory environment required to support the evolution of today’s internet (more…)
The seminar produced an interesting debate, with discussions ranging from issues of methodology and technical concerns, to the policy implications of the results generated in the report (James Enck at EuroTelcoblog has given his views on the evening).
One area that was of particular interest was the scatter graph (reproduced in the event handout) plotting line length versus average throughput speed. Although using straight line length (the straight line distance from a home to the exchange) rather than the actual line length, the level of variance in performance between lines of comparable length is pronounced.
We have commented before on this blog how difficult broadband is as a service to market, given the fact that the customer experience is to an extent out of the hands of the service provider.
Getting behind the reasons for this variance should be a central concern of policymakers and the industry alike. The causes of the variance could have important implications for the development of public and regulatory policymaking in this area. We wait to see what Ofcom’s second report on broadband speeds is able to say on this.
Peter Shearman, Policy Manager, BSG
The event brought together over 40 industry representatives, and produced a lively and informed debate.
At an event yesterday Communications Minister Stephen Carter discussed the idea of a universal broadband commitment of a 2Mbps service to be available to every household that wants it, by 2012. The commitment could be included in the interim Digital Britain Report, expected to be published at the end of January.
The proposal would see a reform of the existing universal service obligation on BT, and would make use of wireless networks as well as fixed to deliver the service. The idea follows similar recent developments in other markets such as France, Ireland and Finland.
Whilst this is clearly a significant development, many will ask what it means for next generation broadband deployment in the UK? In November last year BSG Chairman Kip Meek outlined the idea of a universal service commitment for broadband in his speech to the BSG Reception. Meek’s idea sought to bring together policy in current and next generation broadband – a universal service for current broadband while encouraging investment in next generation broadband.
If the aims of the digital Britain initiative are to deliver economic as well as social benefits then a coherent approach will be required that addresses both objectives. While Carter referenced the importance of enabling investment in next generation services, it remains unclear, what, if anything, the DBR interim report will say on the matter.
Peter Shearman, Policy Manger, BSG
At the BSG Reception last night BSG Chairman Kip Meek outlined the three requirements he sees to solving next generation broadband in the UK: an explicit vision of a next generation broadband future; leadership from government, Ofcom and others such as the BSG; and both supported by coordinated stakeholder efforts. Setting out his vision of a superfast future, Meek identified the five key obstacles he sees to achieving this, and called for renewed efforts in the months ahead.
In the following Q&A, minister for communications Stephen Carter welcomed the speech, and encouraged all stakeholders to engage “openly, constructively and analytically” with the Digital Britain Report process. He stated that the biggest challenge facing the Digital Britain Report was getting things done “fast and well”, but that Digital Britain was why he was in post and would receive his full focus.
On 09 June 2008 the BSG held its 2008 Conference ‘Beyond Pipe Dreams? Prospects for Next Generation Broadband in the UK’.
The conference brought together over 250 delegates from a variety of stakeholders, including representatives from ISPs, content providers, rights holders, consultants, analysts, investors, the regulator, public sector bodies, and the voluntary sector, as well as the Caio review team.
The event produced many lively debates, building on the launch at the conference of two new pieces of research by the BSG:
- A Framework for Evaluating the Value of Next Generation Broadband
- Models for efficient and effective public-sector interventions in next-generation broadband access networks
The presentations from the event can be found below.
Session 1: How valuable might next generation broadband be for the UK?
- Benoit Felten, Yankee Group – Fiber to the World
- Antony Walker, BSG – Will next generation broadband deliver next generation benefits?
Session 2: The investment case for next generation networks
- Richard Allan, Cisco – 21st Century Broadband
- Amit Sharma, Ingenious Consulting – Is there a robust business case for investment in next generation broadband
Session 3: Regulating for next generation access
- Peter Phillips, Ofcom
- Nigel Hickson, BERR – Regulating for next generation access
- Robin Foster, indepedent advisor
Session 4: What role for the public sector?