Ofcom today published their initial conclusions from the Digital Communications Review that they kicked off last year. Whilst these are officially their interim findings, the direction of travel is relatively clear; over the next 10 years, the UK will move towards an increasingly all-fibre future, with widespread availability of competing fibre networks driving the take-up of ultrafast services underpinned by a USO. Against the background of convergence, Ofcom will do more to make it easier to compare quality of service across fixed, mobile and bundled offers. Openreach understandably lies at the heart of much of this and whilst BT will be sure to feel additional pain, Ofcom are not proposing full structural separation, yet.
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.
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.
Analysys Mason today published a report comparing the UK’s fixed telecoms market to the five major European countries and several other leading digital countries. It found that the UK is currently ahead of its European competitors on measures such as average speed*, superfast broadband coverage and take-up and will soon be outperforming countries such as Japan and the USA.
The UK is one of the five Global Broadband Internet Ecosystem Leaders, according to the Net Vitality Index. The report was produced by the Media Institute, a US not-for-profit research organisation focused on communications policy. It is based on a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the global broadband internet system and identifies the US, South Korea, Japan, and the UK as the top-tier global broadband leaders.
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.
Consumers’ purchasing choices are driven by quality of experience, choice and transparency of traffic management, reports BERECmatthewevans
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.
The Government released its latest report on the progress made by the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme. Thanks to this, superfast broadband is now available to over 2.4 million premises in the UK (an increase of 500 000 more premises since December 2014). This, according to the report, equates to nearly 8000 premises covered per £million of BDUK expenditure.
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.
Ahead of the roll-out of the EU Digital Single Market strategy in May, the European Commission published last week the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI). The UK is amongst the top digital performers ranking 6 out of the EU28 behind Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland and Belgium. Lowest digital performers include Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania.
The final 5% challenge – 7 pilot schemes deployed to bring superfast broadband to UK’s hardest-to-reach areassamiragazzane
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport today published their initial findings from the feasibility phase of 8 test pilots that were set up to explore alternative technologies and business cases to deploy superfast broadband to the hardest-to-reach areas. 7 of those pilots are now being taken forward to deployment.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee today published a report into the extent of broadband coverage in rural areas and the launch of digital only services, in which it called for the “hardest-to-reach” areas to be given priority in the delivery of broadband services.