Government

Event – Urban Connectivity – the demand and the challenges

 Urban Connectivity: The Demand and the Challenges

12 October 2016 10.00-17.00

techUK, 10 St Bride St, London, EC4A 4AD

The UK’s cities are determining factors in our economic well-being, helping to drive growth and create jobs. By their nature they require resilient, high capacity and high quality infrastructure. This applies to digital communication networks as much as it does to transport infrastructure. Indeed, it may shortly matter more.

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Digital Economy Bill begins the legislative process with first reading in House of Commons

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.

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Ofcom call for inputs on automatic compensation

Ofcom has today published its consultation on automatic compensation for consumers and smaller businesses who experience disruption to daily activities caused by problems with their communications services. Before publishing a detailed consultation on the system, Ofcom is gathering initial views on the scope, form, process, level of compensation and also possible risks of introducing new measures. (more…)

Government publishes Universal Service Obligation Consultation

Government has today launched its consultation on a Universal Service Obligation for broadband. The consultation acknowledges that a USO is a safety net for those who do not have access to super or ultrafast speed to ensure that everyone is able to participate in our digital society. This follows on the Prime Minister’s commitment last year that the UK would have a USO of 10 Mbit/s. This level is backed up by Ofcom in their latest Connected Nations Report.

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Deploying infrastructure is hard – lessons from the MIP

The Government’s much trumpeted* £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) will close later this month. It has only succeeded in deploying around 60 mobile masts in mobile not-spots at a total cost of under £10m. For those living or commuting through those areas, then the new mobile coverage from all four operators is no doubt eagerly received. But given the project was originally scheduled to deliver between 550-600 sites, there is no doubt it has fallen short of its original goals.

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Businesses connectivity needs to be reviewed by Government

Earlier this month, a survey by the Manufacturer’s Association (EEF) found that internet connectivity was increasingly central to manufacturer’s operations and that Britain’s success in leading the fourth industrial revolution relied on improvements to affordability and internet infrastructure. In a keynote speech at the EEF annual conference today, Business Secretary Sajid Javid announced the review of business broadband “to reduce the barriers to affordable, high-quality fibre-broadband”.

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Universal coverage and a USO

Getting as many people online and enjoying the benefits of that the internet can bring is an incredibly complex task involving digital skills, attitude and awareness among others. But in many ways the first step is ensuring that the underlying connectivity is available to them. In this light the Government’s desire to make sure that every home and business can have access to fast broadband by the end of this Parliament” is to be welcomed.

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BSG Comment: Productivity and Digital Infrastructure

“Productivity is the challenge of our time” – that is the stark opening of the Government’s ‘Fixing the Foundations: Creating a more prosperous nation’ which is billed as the second half of the Budget. The plan outlines the scale of the challenge facing the UK and sets out specific measures in order to overcome it, including practical measures that should help implement its goal for a “world-class digital infrastructure in every part of the UK”.

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Ofcom’s action plan for broadband services for SMEs

Ofcom yesterday launched an action plan for improving the broadband services that are available to the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Whilst they found that the vast majority of SMEs are satisfied with the communications and are well catered for, they did discover a significant minority who had less favourable experiences. Ofcom highlighted four issues that they feel need more attention; the availability of superfast broadband, a concentrated retail market structure, concerns around quality of service, and SMEs struggling to navigate the market.

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