Today’s Autumn Budget announcement yielded few surprises for the telecoms sector. Chancellor Philip Hammond, in what should be the UK’s last budget as part of the EU bloc, revealed that £200 million had been earmarked for programs to drive out fibre networks rurally across the UK (starting with the Borderlands, Cornwall and the Welsh Valleys), in line with the Government’s ambition to see nationwide coverage of full fibre by 2033, with 5G by 2027.
The mood from The Financial Time-ETNO Summit today in Brussels was one of tentative, if not forced, optimism amongst the background feeling of missed opportunities from the recently agreed European Telecoms Code and the repeated sentiment that Europe is risking its potential for investment from the tech sector with its fragmented regulatory approach and low rates of return on investment.
Government today published a series of technical notices that will apply to services and industries in the event of a no deal EU exit for the UK, although Secretary of State Dominic Raab has stressed the hopes and intention that a positive deal will be achieved. (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 results of spectrum auctions being run by Ofcom were today announced. This principal stage of the auction will see the release of airwaves in two frequency bands – 2.3 GHz, will help advance today’s mobile phone use in 4G services and 3.4 GHz, a band that will enable the running of future 5G services. (more…)
Ernst and Young has published findings into consumer and household attitudes into broadband – including both connectivity and content. The research – Segmenting the Digital Household – follows on from the Bundle Jungle study published towards the end of last year. It details how differences in attitudes might affect customer preferences and behaviours, highlighting where communications providers can engage with and provide for consumer needs more effectively.
I’ve written before about why the Mobile Infrastructure Project (MIP) failed to live up to its expectations. In summary, building infrastructure is hard in any case and it’s even harder when neither the problem you want to solve nor solution are agreed upon by the parties involved. Last week though the Government published the Mobile Infrastructure Project: Impact and Benefits Report so it’s only fair to pay attention to the benefits that it delivered too.
Ending a long period of negotiations with Ofcom, BT announced today its voluntary agreement to legally separate from Openreach. Ofcom confirmed that “it will no longer need to impose these changes through regulation??? as initially proposed last year and welcomed BT’s decision. This is a significant reform for the BT Group as Openreach will now become a distinct company with its own staff, brand and Board which will be able to make independent decisions on strategic investments affecting other telecoms providers.
Ofcom announced this morning that it was going to force Openreach to legally separate from BT Group.
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…)
The European Commission today announced that they were blocking the proposed takeover of O2 by Hutchinson (Three’s parent company) due to the strong concerns that it has over the impact that this merger would have on competition in the UK market.
BT’s has today announced that its Openreach and EE businesses will spend around six billion pounds between them over the next three years, in the first phase of a plan to extend superfast broadband and 4G coverage beyond 95% of the UK by 2020.
The announcement focuses on services, coverage and capacity with the latter receiving the most press coverage. As well as confirming their ambition of supplying 12 million premises with ultrafast broadband, BT announced that at least two million of those to be connected with Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) technology. (more…)
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.