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 BERECMatthew Evans
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.
The ninth annual report published on 28 January explores the consumers’ experience of the use telecoms, the internet (predominantly fixed broadband), digital broadcasting and postal services in 2014. It is accompanied by a Consumer Experience Policy Evaluation which assesses the impact of Ofcom’s policy work and activities against the findings of the research.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) discussed today the National Audit Office progress report on the Government’s superfast rural broadband programme.
In a more positive session, the Committee reviewed with the panel (DCMS, BT Group and BDUK representatives) issues raised in previous meetings, including the lack of transparency on the detail of the roll-out plans including costs and level of competition in public funding.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published a report on the coverage and performance of broadband provision in the UK from the perspective of SMEs.
Today the Public Accounts Committee publishes another report on the government’s rural broadband programme.
This latest report from the PAC reinforces previous views it has articulated about the scheme. Namely the lack of competition in supply of services following the procurement process, the need for improvement in cost transparency, processes to ensure value for money and the need for further detail on roll-out plans. (more…)
Last week, the Tinder Foundation and Go ON published A Leading Digital Nation by 2020, providing for the first time an estimate for the investment needed to create a 100% digitally skilled nation.
A national commitment to ensure basic online skills for everyone by 2020 would cost some £875 million – an annual investment of £146 million over a 6-year period.
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 has today published a piece of consumer research looking at how consumers are buying broadband products and their understanding of ISPs’ traffic management policies in relation to this.
The BSG played a key role in facilitating the voluntary code of practice on traffic management transparency launched in 2011 and welcomes Ofcom’s research as an input into how well that voluntary framework is meetings its stated objectives and meeting the needs of consumers.