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BSG Recommendations taken forward in Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) Rural Broad

The Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) have this week published a report following an investigation into rural broadband provision which the BSG gave evidence to a couple of months ago. The report recognises that there is a digital divide between urban and rural areas in terms of broadband availabilty and urges Government to urgently close the divide. It recommends that broadband should be made available to all areas of the UK according to a defined timetable and that the Government needs to allocate adequate resources to support that policy.

It endorses the BSG recommendation to free up spectrum and their report actually recommends “…that the Radiocommunications Agency be formally directed to set the price of radio spectrum licences at a level which actively encourages the development of wireless broadband”. Moreover, it makes reference to the “alphabet soup” of rural initiatives which are currently going on – a point we will make in the forthcoming BSG Rural Report which will be published in December.

View full report

Broadening Horizons: Why Broadband Matters

The Centre for Reform has just published a new report: Broadening Horizons: Why Broadband Matters by David Stevenson, freelance journalist and TV producer. With a foreword by Keith Todd, Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group the project has been sponsored by ntl.

In this challenging and thought provoking report David Stevenson examines what needs to be done to ensure that Britain is in the vanguard of networked societies. He argues that whilst the UK is making progress in rolling out first generation broadband services, we are actually falling behind other countries that are now starting to deploy next generation broadband services, including fibre to the home. As the goal posts continually shift, he argues that new policies will be adopted and fresh targets set by government.

The report is available now from CFR priced £10 / 15 Euros and can be ordered by calling 020 7631 3566.

Broadening horizons: why broadband matters by David Stevenson Foreword by Keith Todd, Chairman, Broadband Stakeholder Group

DTI releases broadband pilots reports

29 May 2003

The feasibility study on broadband content pilots commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is now available. The study was produced by Atos KPMG (AKC) and benefited from the full support of the Digital Content Forum (DCF).

The pilots concentrate on the business models for broadband content development and its contribution to competitiveness and productivity, both to the UK content industry and to the wider economy. The study makes a strong case that the pilots represent a significant opportunity for UK business, and that the DTI and industry should take them forward. The report includes a full evaluation of the rationale of each pilot together with a recommendation on the proposed structure for the pilots and implementation plan.

Two of the AKC recommendations are directed towards helping SMEs enhance their productivity and competitiveness through the use of broadband content. These are:

Developing broadband marketing to provide consumers with compelling broadband experiences, initially within the Tourism industry (‘The Broadband Visitor‘). Making tools available for more effective collaborative working within a creative industries cluster (‘Broadband Collaborative Working‘). The third project (‘The Broadband Channel‘) would involve creating a central body commissioning high quality broadband content coupled with a hosting platform and showcase of UK broadband content for access by distributors. It is different in nature and size from the other two projects and is more of a market maker than a pilot.

DCF Chairman David Worlock said:

‘Nothing is more fruitless than trying to ‘define’ broadband content; clearly it will be an aggregate of the entire range of digital products and services currently available, presented in a new setting which exploits the unique values of broadband to release new values and productivity gains. But if it cannot be defined, then at least it can be exemplified. DCF members here strongly supported the idea of pilot projects to demonstrate to a wider marketplace the huge potential of broadband. The proposed initiatives in this report – the Broadband Visitor pilot, the Broadband Channel and the Broadband Collaborative Working pilot – do just that and thus make this report required reading throughout our industry. The speed and energy with which these pilot opportunities – and the wider opportunities that flow from them – are realised will say much about the vitality and capacity to innovate of the UK digital content sector as a whole.
‘This work would have not been accomplished without the sponsoring activity of the DTI, or the active support of the Broadband Stakeholders Group. My predecessor as DCF chairman, Anthony Lilley, deserves the gratitude of the industry for championing the ideas behind the initiative, and now for supporting them as chairman of the DCF’s Broadband Industry Action Group. The report itself, requires responses by 27th June, and, beyond that, innovative proposals for development concepts and participation. Please ensure that within your organisation someone has responsibility to engage with these issues – and thus with an important element of the future of our business as a whole.‘

The next step is for the DTI to respond to the recommendations, including on funding, and should one or more of the pilots proceed, to organise a competitive tender.

Meanwhile, the DTI and DCF welcome any feedback on the report by 27 June.

The BSG will be collating comments from its members

BSG highlights educational benefits of broadband

Education report provides step-by-step guide to making the UK a leader in online learning and calls on the Government to champion change.

28 April 2003

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the government’s key advisory group on broadband, today unveils its eagerly awaited Broadband Education Report. Stating the case for widespread use and exploitation of broadband within the education system, the report highlights the barriers to successful adoption, and proposes a five step strategy to help bring about a new age of learning for UK education.

“Across the world, and particularly in countries like Korea, access to education online has been a major driver for the take up of broadband, especially by families .” said Antony Walker, BSG CEO. “Broadband makes the Internet more accessible, fun and compelling. When applied to education this opens up new possibilities for students, teachers and lecturers alike”.

With almost 40% of schools already connected to broadband, the BSG report highlights case studies demonstrating how schools and colleges are discovering innovative new ways of teaching and learning using broadband, that change the way education is delivered; allow learners much more flexibility; and improve the way educational institutions are managed and administered. “The challenge today is to leverage these developments and examples of good practice so that the full benefits of broadband are delivered as widely and quickly as possible across the whole education sector,” said Walker.

The BSG identifies several key issues or barriers that need to be addressed for the UK to become a global leader in educational use of broadband. These include; how best to motivate users and decision makers to ensure that the deployment of broadband becomes an educational ‘pull’ rather than a technology ‘push’, how to address inconsistencies in the use of broadband in education, how to overcome the fragmentation of funding streams available for broadband education projects , and how to make sure that these projects are sustainable in the longer term.

To overcome these barriers, the BSG has developed five major recommendations:

1. The Government should clearly communicate its vision for the use of broadband within education and the wider learning agenda.

2. A central online resource for the broadband and education sector should be developed to provide guidance and information on how education institutions can fully integrate broadband into their strategic education targets and related processes.

3. Guidelines should be drawn up to advise educational institutions on how best to pull together funding streams to support new broadband projects in a sustainable and efficient way.

4. Action is required to ensure that teachers have access to effective technical support in the classroom.

5. Build sustainability requirements into educational projects to ensure that successful pilots can be maintained.

Keith Todd, Chairman of the BSG said, “The education sector is not yet fully exploiting the potential of ICT. The introduction of broadband in particular, represents a challenge to traditional methods of teaching, learning and administration and therefore needs to be accompanied by effective change management processes to ensure that educational organisations are compelled to use broadband.”

In November last year, Prime Minister, Tony Blair, argued that education and skills were critical to the creation of a knowledge driven economy. Announcing a major commitment to deliver broadband to all schools in 2006, Blair said “ We agree with the BSG that schools are key to taking advantage of the broadband revolution. We plan to build on the progress we have made in providing thousands more PCs and achieving the highest level of Internet connection for schools in the G7.”

View BSG Report in full

BSG welcomes the Government's response to its recommendations but warns of the many challenges ahead

Government Signs up to Broadband Challenge

20 March 2003

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the Government’s key advisory group on broadband, today welcomed the Government’s response to its strategic recommendations for the delivery of Broadband Britain but warned of the many challenges that lie ahead in implementing these proposals.

Keith Todd, Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) said, “This is a very positive announcement. In our report last year, the BSG set out a full and testing agenda which the government has now signed up to. The Government has shown real ambition and has taken on a tough challenge –delivering these actions on time is not going to be easy. However the BSG is committed to making sure that they deliver all of the actions in this report.”

The BSG warned that timescales are tight, and the barriers to progress should not be underestimated. For example, the UK has so far made slow progress in the rollout of wireless broadband technologies, which will be vital for extending broadband coverage to rural areas. “Unleashing the potential of wireless is absolutely essential for Broadband Britain, but there are some real commercial and regulatory barriers that need to be overcome, particularly around the provision and assignment of suitable spectrum,” said Antony Walker, CEO of the BSG. “By committing to the development of a broadband wireless action plan the government has recognised the need for much more concerted work in this area.”

With regard to the Government’s plans to aggregate funds for more efficient purchasing of broadband for health and education departmental initiatives, the BSG warns that the Government will need to move at the speed of the fastest broadband mover, lest its initiatives become bogged down and deadlines are missed. The DTI’s Broadband Task Force has a vital role to play in setting out a clear framework for how aggregation is going to be achieved.

“The government will have to remain very focused if it is to deliver many of the commitments made in this report” said Walker. “I am particularly pleased with their decision to commit more resources to project managing their broadband strategy. This programme is vital to the UK’s long term competitiveness and needs to be central to the government’s e-agenda.”

Government Response to BSG Recommendations

BSG Second Annual Report and Strategic Recommendations

PM thanks for the work of the BSG – Government will provide funding to deliver broadband connections to every school by 2006

19 November 2002

The BSG was thanked by the Prime Minister in his speech to the e-Summit for raising the important issue that schools are fundamental for improving skills and for tackling the digital divide.

The Prime Minister went on to say that the Government agrees with the BSG that schools are key to taking advantage of the broadband revolution and as such, announced that the Government will provide funding to deliver broadband connections to every school by 2006.

Broadband Stakeholder Group Annual Report Drives Broadband Agenda

Landmark report provides step-by-step guide to becoming the most active broadband market in the G7, and calls on Government to champion change

Since November last year, Broadband take up has increased by 300%; retail ADSL prices have dropped by more than 30%; and coverage has increased by 7 percentage points with broadband services now available to 67% of the UK’s 24 million households.

19 November 2002

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the government’s key advisory group on broadband, today unveils its eagerly awaited second annual report on the development of Broadband Britain. “The UK now has a tremendous opportunity to build on the 300% growth achieved over the last eleven months, and deliver on the promise of Broadband Britain.” said Keith Todd, Chairman of the BSG.

The BSG has set two main priorities for 2003:

  • Accelerating broadband take-up – In the year ahead Broadband needs to become a ‘must-have’ service for consumers, business and Government. The BSG calls on Government and service providers to continue their aggressive promotion of Broadband focusing on marketing the benefits to users. The Government can also play a key role as a purchaser of broadband access, content, applications and services, for improved health, education and other public services. The BSG will continue to research the way Broadband is changing and influencing online behaviour.
  • Extending broadband coverage and increasing competition – The report focuses on the importance of wireless broadband services and shared civil infrastructure as two key enablers for increasing coverage and competition. Wireless technologies have the ability to cost-effectively extend coverage to new areas, as well as opening the market to new service providers. The BSG calls on Government to prioritise the allocation of appropriate spectrum and set out a strategic plan for wireless broadband services.

Additionally, the BSG argues that the Government enables third party provision of civil infrastructure (ducts, buildings etc) to be shared by operators on a non-discriminatory basis. This would reduce the cost burden faced by operators, allowing them to extend/upgrade their networks more cost effectively, bringing further stimulus to the broadband marketplace.

Speaking at today’s E-Summit, Keith Todd, Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, said: “Broadband is central to the UK e-government agenda. Broadband is poised to have a radical effect on society and business. Our report will help policymakers turn theory into reality – and take Britain forward on its broadband journey.”

“We’ve made good progress this year,” added Antony Walker, CEO, Broadband Stakeholder Group. “We’ve now got to focus on driving more volume into the broadband market and really demonstrate the demand for bandwidth. This will be essential for securing long-term capital investment for the future. On the demand side, online education should be exploited as a major driver of adoption – as we have seen in Korea the classroom can be a springboard for mass adoption of broadband.”

The Broadband Stakeholder Group was established in April 2001 to advise the Government on its strategy for achieving its 2005 goal. The recommendations of its first report, published in November 2001, were almost entirely accepted and are now being implemented – the Government acknowledged that there was no ‘silver bullet’ to speed up broadband adoption. The BSG strategy is based on a ‘virtuous circle’ model of adoption, whereby a critical mass of early adopters and market makers fuel mainstream development and adoption of broadband services. Today’s report builds on these recommendations and is expected to take a leading role in shaping Government broadband policy.

BSG Second Annual Report and Strategic Recommendations

BSG Second Annual Report: Wireless

BSG Second Annual Report: Devolved Administrations

Key Metrics Annex

Broadband Stakeholder Group Interim Report Released

26 June 2002

“The UK is finally turning the corner on broadband services, but we have to up the pace,” said Keith Todd, Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group

The BSG’s mid year report, published today reveals that:

  • There are over 600,000 broadband subscribers, 64% of the population is within reach of a wired broadband connection and over 20,000 broadband customers are being added each week.
  • After a slow start, the UK is making progress. The last six months has seen significant improvements in terms of pricing, products and promotion, which have been reflected in the increased take-up.
  • However, the UK has some way to go to catch up with the lead group of broadband economies and the adoption rate will have to accelerate further if the UK is to claim a position of leadership in the G7. The contrast in terms of availability of services between rural and urban areas is a cause for serious concern.

“We set out on the broadband service journey later than the lead countries but we are now very much on our way, ” said Todd. “This is a journey similar to the microprocessor journey of the past 25 years. All stakeholders must play their part in continually developing and enhancing the user experience being offered at affordable prices”.

There is a lack of detailed information about the exact geographic reach of current broadband services in the UK. With assistance from the Office of the e-Envoy the BSG will develop a detailed map, which will colour code broadband availability across the UK.

Area Coverage Status
Green Competitive market for affordable mass-market broadband services
White At least one provider affordable mass-market broadband services
Grey No services currently available but potential for the deployment of commercially sustainable broadband services
Red With little expectation that the market will provide affordable broadband services for the consumer market

The report sets out four critical path action areas for the successful deployment of broadband services:

  1. It challenges all stakeholders to agree the conditions precedent to the Broadband services journey.
  2. It sets out action areas to ‘nurture the market’ by creating the conditions to encourage competition and sustain market growth (green & white areas). Stating clearly that the new OFCOM will have a pivotal role in creating the right environment. ‘OFCOM will be all about broadband services’.
  3. It identifies some innovative solutions to encourage the deployment of competitive services where there is potential for their deployment (Grey areas) and seeks further views on other potential solutions.
  4. It challenges government to develop a plan, with the assistance of the BSG, for areas that the market will not reach (red areas).

This reports sets out the BSG’s latest thinking and activities with the aim provoking further contributions in the run up to the second full BSG report to be published in November. The BSG is seeking views from all stakeholders so that it can provide further input to the government on how to accelerate the rollout and take-up Broadband services.

Keith Todd the Chairman of the BSG said: “We are on our way on the ‘Broadband Journey’ with one million broadband service users in sight by the end of the year. The ‘action areas’ are clear but all stakeholders must work vigorously to ensure that the objectives are met. If all stakeholders adopt a ‘Killer attitude’ we will succeed.”

Stephen Timms, the e-Commerce Minister, said: “The Broadband Stakeholder Group has already made important contributions to Government policy and decisions. The advice and expertise which the provides are invaluable and I would to thank Keith Todd and the Stakeholder Group for this new drive they have brought to the Broadband journey.”

Full BSG Interim Report 2002

Report Annex

BSG Chairman’s Presentation at Network Telecoms Europe 2002

Keith Todd – Independent chairman to lead broadband advisory group

Joint DTI and Broadband Stakeholder Group Press Release

11 February 2002

E-Commerce Minister Douglas Alexander and the BSG today announced the appointment of former ICL chief executive Keith Todd as chairman of the Government’s key advisory committee on broadband (high-speed, always-on internet access), the Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG).

The Government’s comprehensive Broadband Strategy, published in December last year, drew heavily on the Broadband Stakeholder Group’s first report and recommendations.

The Government will continue to draw on the front line experience and expertise of Stakeholder group members in developing future Government policy, and the appointment of Mr Todd marks the next stage in the group’s development.

Mr Todd has twenty-five year’s experience in the ICT industry. He will take up the role with immediate effect.

Mr Todd will take forward a new programme of work, focusing on broadband end-users. The new work streams within the Stakeholder Group will concentrate specifically on:

  • Broadband Promotion / Marketing
  • Broadband for Education
  • Broadband Content
  • Regulatory Framework
  • Strategy Implementation

E-Commerce Minister Douglas Alexander said:

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Keith Todd as the first independent Chairman. He brings with him a wealth of experience in the fast moving world of technology, and I greatly look forward to working with him.

“Broadband allows the user to interact with and view online material, which integrates not just text and graphics, but audio and video too. And like the Internet – though unlike broadcast television and radio – you can access exactly what you want, when you want. For businesses it can make the difference between costly software licenses and upgrades and economical downloads of the very latest technologies.

Mr Todd said:

“I am honoured to have been offered this important job, which I was happy to accept. The Government has signalled that it is committed to Broadband because of its importance to the UK economy.

“I look forward to leading the BSG’s work in monitoring and supporting implementation of the Government’s Broadband strategy and in particular helping to identify ways to accelerate the adoption of Broadband services by business and consumers, across the country.”

Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive BT Group said:

” We are delighted that the work of the Broadband Stakeholders Group will be taken forward under the leadership of Keith Todd. We believe that, by working together, the stakeholders can dramatically transform the UK broadband services market.”

Adam Singer, CEO of Telewest said:

“We are very pleased that Keith Todd has agreed to chair the BSG. His experience at a senior level in the industry coupled with his independence from the key players will be extremely valuable.”

Stephen Carter, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of ntl Group Ltd, said:

“ntl supports the ongoing work of the Broadband Stakeholders’ Group and is delighted that Keith Todd has agreed to take the chairman’s role. The UK must continue to develop a vigorous and focused broadband strategy, and we believe the BSG, acting as a ‘critical, knowledgeable friend’ to the Government, can help to achieve this.”

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Broadband Stakeholder Group was established in 2001 to advise the Government in the development of strategies to accelerate broadband access and coverage in the UK. The Federation of the Electronics Industry is a leading BSG Member. Other members include representatives of key broadband companies and consumer groups.

Keith Todd is currently the Chairman of his own consulting company, Knotty Green Consulting, and non-executive director of the IT services company ECSoft. From 1996 to 200 he was CEO of ICL plc, overseeing its transformation from a computer manufacturer to a global IT services company. He has held a number of other senior executive positions with Marconi, ICL and Cincinnati Electronics. He has held positions on the boards of Camelot, the Open University Council, the CBI Presidents committee and the Government’s Information Age Partnership. He is a Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University in 1999.

http://www.dti.gov.uk/