Since March 2020 telecoms providers and broadcasters have implemented measures to keep the UK connected. This includes additional help for vulnerable customers, NHS staff, care homes and hospitals. They have offered discounted broadband services or lifted the data caps, given free data packages on mobile, zero-rated websites, WiFi vouchers, paused charges for sports and other channels, and standalone education resources. (more…)
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden announced Government’s National Data Strategy to drive growth, boost innovation, create new jobs and improve public services. Government will develop a clear policy framework to determine what interventions are needed to unlock the value of data across the economy and help drive the recovery from Covid-19. It proposes an overhaul in the use of data across the public sector and a programme of work will be launched that will transform the way data is managed, used, shared internally within government, and with wider public sectors organisations. (more…)
Consultation: Copper retirement – process for determining when copper regulation can be removed (supplementary consultation to the WFTMR)
The consultation proposes to delay decisions about Openreach’s copper retirement process until after Ofcom has determined the outcome of the WFTMR. Justification is that Openreach’s fibre roll-out is still in its early stages and Ofcom would prefer to wait for more details on the Salisbury and Mildenhall trials. The consultation period ends on 3 September and the outcome of the WFTMR is due to be published in Q4 2020/21. (more…)
In the Online Harms White Paper government set out a programme of action. As part of this DCMS has published a study ‘Safer technology, safer users: The UK as a world leader in Safety Tech’ which provides an overview of the UK’s Safety Technology sector. It highlights some of the UK’s most innovative businesses focused on tackling online harms through a range of technical solutions.
The report sets out government’s proposed measures to boost the Safety Tech sector in the UK, as well as measures to help users manage their own safety online and the wide range of Safety Tech products and services that already help make online platforms safer.
A new online learning platform was launched today by Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, to help people while they are asked to stay at home.
The Skills Toolkit is made up of free online resources to help improve digital and numeracy skills to and allows furloughed employees in particular the opportunity to keep up their skills development while at home. Digital courses include tools for using email and social media more effectively at work, to creating online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage, as well as Open University courses. All courses are free, online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace.
The last month has shown more than ever the importance of digital connectivity to all our lives. Despite some initial concerns in the media, the UK’s broadband and mobile networks have been able to comfortably accommodate traffic increases with existing capacity. There have inevitably been peaks in demand, but we are now seeing a general plateau pattern across the UK and Europe.
The UK’s public service broadcasters (PSBs) have seen increases in demand too. During the week 23-29 March, the BBC reported a record-breaking 198% increase in unique visitors to its BBC Bitesize website (4.8m, beating a previous record of 3.3m). Its children’s entertainment channels were also in high demand: with a 94% increase in requests for CBBC (10.6m). The last few weeks have seen record numbers of people using BBC Sounds too, more than 3.5 million each week, with listeners turning to live radio as well as on demand content.
Today – ordinarily the start of the summer term for most children and teachers now living in exclusively online classrooms – marks the launch by the BBC of a new and extensive educational initiative. The aim is to help ensure that every child in the UK has the opportunity continue to follow the appropriate core parts of their nation’s school curriculum during COVID-19. (more…)
The ONS this week published their annual Internet Access – households and individuals report.
The release highlighted a number of trends which we have witnessed over the last few years, not least that household internet access has largely plateaued;
With a high penetration of households and more people using mobile internet than ever before, understandably usage remains extremely high with 87% of adults using the internet daily in 2019. Whilst this includes the traditional demographic trend of younger people tending to use the internet more, 2019 saw the first year in which more than half of adults aged 65 years and over shopped online;
Of course this still leaves a significant minority of people and households who do not have internet access. The reasons for this are relatively well understood in terms of access to connectivity, skills and financial restrictions. However, the overriding factor for the ONS release was attitude/awareness with 61% of households who do not have internet access saying they did not need it.
This ties in with the BSG’s recent research on digital inclusion.
Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton has launched new qualifications designed to help the 1 in 5 adults currently with no or low basic digital skills learn essential digital skills and gain confidence being online.
The Broadband Stakeholder Group has today published a report looking into digital exclusion, unpicking the rationale behind the 8% of the UK population who have never been online. ComRes, who carried out the research, undertook both qualitative and quantitative research, surveying both the recently on-liners as well as the non-users. (more…)
The third Lloyds UK Consumer Digital Index released today looks into financial and digital capability in the UK for 2018. With a focus on digital skills, financial resilience, and inclusivity the report reveals improvements for those gaining digital skills, with 470,000 more than last year with new skills. Initiatives such as those set up last year by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s Digital Skills Partnership have been credited with collaborating to promote best practice through the creation of a network of over 70 cross-sector bodies.
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.
The Government have today introduced the Digital Economy Bill to Parliament as part of its ambition for the UK to be the most digital nation in the world. The Digital Economy Bill (HC Bill 45) sets out the framework for the introduction of a Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO), includes new powers for Ofcom, seeks to reform the Electronic Communications Code and also sets out new consumer rights.
Ofcom last week published their annual report into adult use, attitudes and understanding of TV, radio, mobile, games, and the internet, with a particular focus on those groups that tend not to participate digitally. The report is based around research conducted in autumn 2015, and any key changes compared to Ofcom’s statistics from 2014.
In March 2015, Lloyds Bank published its second UK Business Digital Index highlighting the various factors contributing to the slow move towards becoming digital for a significant portion of SMEs. Last week, the first UK Consumer Digital Index was launched, establishing the link between digital and financial capability and investigating It found that £3.7bn of online savings for consumers could be made if the digitally and financially excluded were to realise online opportunities.