Industry news

Ofcom completes Phase 1 of its Digital Communications Review – now comes the hard bit…

Ofcom today published its discussion document on the challenges facing the UK’s telecommunications sector over the next decade, marking the completion of the first phase of the Digital Communications Review that it kicked off in March. The key aim of the review is to ensure that the UK’s citizens and businesses are well served by high-quality, widely available telecoms services.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Consumers’ purchasing choices are driven by quality of experience, choice and transparency of traffic management, reports BEREC

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), have published and adopted a timely report on net neutrality and which traffic management policies influence consumer’s purchasing decisions. The headline finding is that consumers unsurprisingly tend to favour packages that align with Open Internet principles*and that as long as “there is transparency, and consumers are able easily to switch provider, such services seem likely to predominate”. This supports the BSG’s view, backed by the UK Government and Ofcom, that transparency and effective competition are the best guarantors of the Open Internet.

(more…)

The European Commission unveils plans to develop a Digital Single Market

Yesterday the European Commission unveiled their proposals on the Digital Single Market, one of President Jean-Claude Juncker’s top 5 priorities.

Their primary goal is to create a market where “individuals and businesses can seamlessly access and exercise online activities under conditions of fair competition, and a high level of consumer and personal data protection, irrespective of their nationality or place of residence”.

(more…)

CES: 4K and Smart Devices – the view from afar

So 2015’s bigger, louder and better (?) Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has closed.  From afar it looked as though this year was more about the direction and theme of the tech industry – with more 4K/Ultra High Definition televisions and an explosion in ‘connected’ devices appearing to be the main two– rather than about one device winning through.

(more…)

Guest Blog: 'WiFi in US Cities' by Felicity Dryer

Think about the last time you couldn’t find Wi-Fi access when you needed it: If you’re like most people, you might have to really think about it, as wireless Internet access seems to be available almost anywhere these days.

And when you consider how many people carry multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices, the need for easy access to wireless Internet connectivity becomes more important, whether you’re at home, at work, or enjoying a park or restaurant. Having easy access to wireless options can allow a parent to attend his son’s football game while remaining connected to work, for example.

(more…)

BSG CEO on expert panel for Broadband Genie and PC Advisor Home Broadband Survey 2014

Our CEO Pamela Learmonth was amongst a number of industry experts for the Broadband Genie and PC Advisor Home Broadband Survey 2014.

On Monday, Plusnet, Virgin Media, Sky and Gigaclear were announced as the winners of the 2014 Home Broadband Survey, an examination of the state of UK broadband carried out by comparison site BroadbandGenie.co.uk and technology magazine PCAdvisor.co.uk. (more…)

Future bandwidth demand features at CES 2014

Another new year, another Consumer Electronics Show, where Las Vegas plays host to the latest developments in consumer technology. There’s been plenty of coverage on the weird and the wonderful in the press, but at the BSG we’ve been interested to note a growing conversation about bandwidth needs for the cutting edge products poised to dominate the market.

UHDTV or 4K video streaming has been a notable highlight. Firstly, Google showcased their low-bandwidth 4K YouTube streaming called VP9, and have been working closely with a range of the big electronics firms and device manufacturers on its implementation. Netflix also took to the stage to promote its 4K services, with CEO Reed Hastings stating will require 15Mb/s of bandwidth compressed using HEVC. Interestingly, Broadcom also announced 5G Wi-Fi chips for tripling bandwidth in wireless home networking. (more…)

Vaizey hails urban vouchers as 'breaking new ground', as scheme rolls out in 22 cities

SCCThe Vouchers component of the Government’s Super Connected Cities programme (also known as the Urban Broadband Fund) launched across 22 cities as part of Small Business Saturday on Saturday 7 December. The voucher scheme represents up to £100 million of the £150 million being overseen by BDUK and managed by cities to provide a step change in connectivity for businesses in urban areas.

Today in a written statement to parliament, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey MP said that “the market tests in 5 cities over the summer have showed that suppliers and SMEs want to participate in the Scheme, with over 60 suppliers registered for the market tests and an increasing number now registering for the full scheme.” (more…)

New money for innovative technologies as 2017 superfast broadband landscape becomes clearer

The Government has treated the broadband community to a new announcement and restatements of intent as part of this week’s Autumn Statement and National Infrastructure Plan.

The main new funding announcement from yesterday’s National Infrastructure Plan was the opening of a £10 million competitive fund in 2014 to market test innovative solutions, delivering superfast broadband services to the most difficult to reach areas of the UK. The BSG welcomes this fund; an intelligent blend of different technologies (including fixed, mobile and other solutions) will be crucial in reaching the government’s ambition for 99% access to superfast broadband by 2018. (more…)

BSG publishes new model for analysing domestic demand for bandwidth

Today the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) published a report outlining a new way for measuring and forecasting demand for bandwidth in UK homes. The group called for greater policy attention to be given to how demand relates to infrastructure provision.

Pamela Learmonth, CEO of the BSG said, “Despite global interest in whether broadband infrastructure is currently meeting demand and will continue to do so, there is a lack of evidence and methodology available to inform this critical question. This was our key motivation for commissioning new research in this area and this study presents a technology-neutral approach to forecasting demand, rooted in the applications consumers want to access.

The model for forecasting bandwidth demand, used in the BSG’s report, combines the usage profiles of various applications with the usage of profiles of individuals.  These individual profiles are then combined into various household profiles. 156 household profiles are modelled in the report, based on demographics, intensity of use and TV type. The household profiles have also been combined to create a picture of national demand. (more…)

Public Accounts Committee publishes report following enquiry into rural broadband

This morning the Public Accounts Committee published their final report following their examination of the Government’s rural broadband programme.

The report focuses its attention on areas where the committee believed BT and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport could have acted in a way which brought better value for money for the tax payers.

The recommendations from the report are as follows: (more…)

Ofcom release statement and consultation on Switching

Further to last week’s DCMS Strategy paper Connectivity, Content and Consumers: Britain’s digital platform for growth, Ofcom has provided further detail on the way forward for Gaining-Provider Lead Switching.

The DCMS strategy paper indicated that legislation would be passed to give Ofcom a duty to ensure a consistent and effective experience for consumer switching, particularly in regard to bundles, and this latest release lays out a consultation and statement on the processes for switching fixed voice and broadband providers on the Openreach copper network (which includes FTTC).

The Consultation closes on 2 October 2013.

DCMS and Arqiva reveal locations of Mobile Infrastructure Projects

Government has this week revealed the first locations that will be covered by the £150m Mobile Infrastructure Project. In an announcement on the DCMS site, mobile phone coverage will be increased in areas where no coverage is currently available. Cornwall, Northumberland, Strabane, Aberdeenshire and Powys are among the areas that stand to benefit most from the project, with the first sites due to “go live” by the end of this year. (more…)