Digital divide

BSG Annual Conference – the Future of Digital Communications – Thursday 2 November 2017 #BSGComms17

The Broadband Stakeholder Group is delighted to invite you to our free Annual Conference on Thursday 2 November 2017.

Kick-starting with a keynote speech from Minister for Digital Matt Hancock, the Conference will focus on the future of digital communications, both in terms of infrastructure deployment and take-up of services.

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Universality and Value for Money: Government Options for Designing the Broadband Universal Service Obligation

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) publishes report on the design considerations for a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO)

  • Designing the USO is extremely complicated but the cost threshold for each premise is extremely sensitive
  • BSG research shows that a cost threshold of between £1500-3000 maximises the net public benefit to the UK
  • To maximise the number of premises that can get access to good quality broadband through the USO demand, aggregation is needed
  • Where the cost of connecting premises is above the cost threshold then an alternative measure should be made available

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) has today launched Impact of a Broadband USO in the UK, a report commissioned from Plum Consulting to analyse the impact of the design considerations of a potential broadband USO in the UK. This report complements the technical advice produced by Ofcom in December 2016 for Government.

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Broadband DIY gets a tutorial

It’s fair to say that the UK’s experience of community led broadband schemes has not been evenly distributed. The work of B4RN and others is nothing sort of transformational but there have been other examples of networks collapsing under financial strain or more often simply never getting off the ground. Their reputation was further tarnished by the unsuccessful Rural Community Broadband Fund. One of the complaints from communities was that there were few easily accessible case studies and tutorials. BDUK have now rectified this with a good portal containing case studies and guidance.

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Rail passengers are willing to pay a higher fare to access the internet during their commute

The Department for Transport (DfT) yesterday released a study exploring how rail users value and use mobile connectivity on trains. It also shows evidence that passengers are willing to pay up to 17% more on rail fares above existing ticket price for improved connectivity on mobile and internet network access.

This study follows the 2015 Government consultation on improving mobile communications for UK rail passengers, as well as the Coalition Government’s pledge to roll out free Wifi on trains across England and Wales from 2017. The report finds that some groups of passengers would be willing to accept the costs of improvements to connectivity on trains, saving costs for the government and industry. (more…)

Getting to the Internet of Everyone – still a work in progress

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.

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Ofcom Communications Report: Selfies, devices and 4G

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.

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How digitally engaged are SMEs and charities?

The second Lloyds Bank Business Digital Index was launched last week in association with management consultancy Accenture. Its headline finding was that for SMEs and charities, there is a “slow and not universal move to becoming more digital”. The report found that attitudes and awareness are the biggest barriers to greater digital adoption, confirming the findings of the BSG micro-business survey conducted last year.

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Are mobile devices the key to digital inclusion?

The main motivations for people to connect to the internet are: shopping (the UK ranks first in the EU for E-commerce), finding a job, connecting socially, and engaging with Government services… so nothing too important then!

The ever increasing importance of the internet – and the increasing cost, either to the individual or the State, of being offline has led to an expectation that everybody is or should be online. However, a research report recently published by Plum Consulting (and commissioned by EE) estimates that around 7.4 million people are still offline. 86% of which are aged over 55.

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One Digital Nation? Shadow Minister Helen Goodman MP speaks to BSG on policy post 2015

 

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.

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…)

New report calls attention to the offline populace

Just over a week ago the National Audit Office published Digital Britain 2: Putting users at the heart of government’s digital services. Its authors looked at the progress being made with the Government’s ‘digital by default’ agenda for public services. Today we see that it has been taken up for further inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee, indicating that this agenda will continue to receive further scrutiny from various quarters and will have to address the significant numbers of people who cannot, or do wish to, go online. (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…)