News

Ofcom publishes The Communications Market 2004 report

This is the first in a series of annual Communications Market reports by Ofcom. The main annual Communications Market publication, which from 2005 will be published in May, will be supplemented by quarterly updates, in October, January and August each year, providing the latest available data on each sector, including:

    • size, structure and financing;
    • availability, penetration and use of products;
    • consumer attitudes and behaviour.

The report highlights developments during 2003 and the start of 2004 across the electronic communications sector in the UK, covering television, radio and telecoms.

'UK spectrum management' and 'A Statement on Spectrum Trading', Ofcom, August 2004

UK spectrum management Trading mechanisms, liberalisation of use, access and innovation

“Ofcom has regulatory responsibilities from broadcasting through to telecommunications. The most significant point of common interest is in the key raw material of most modern communications – the invisible but critically important radio spectrum.

Ofcom has today [6 August 2004] published an overview of the steps it intends to take in 2004-05 to introduce greater flexibility and freedom of use to radio spectrum management.”

A Statement on Spectrum Trading
Implementation in 2004 and beyond

“This Statement follows a public consultation by Ofcom and the Radiocommunications Agency on proposals for the introduction of spectrum trading in the United Kingdom. The consultation, which was published in November 2003, explained that the introduction of spectrum trading and liberalisation would help to encourage efficient use of spectrum by enabling it to be transferred to, and used by, the user that values it most.”

DTI: Wireless Telegraphy Bill – August 2004

This consultation seeks views on a Bill to consolidate the existing legislation on “Wireless Telegraphy”.

There are currently six Acts relating to this subject including the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949. Replacing the existing legislation with a single Act will make the legislation much easier for all users of radio spectrum to understand and use. Some legal inconsistencies and problems have been removed from the legislation and the text of the Bill written so that it is easier to understand. A main object of the consolidation Bill is to reproduce the same legal effect as the current legislation. Thus no policy changes to the current legislation have been made.

Specific questions on the Bill are raised in the consultation and general views on the Bill are sought.

Consultation Documents :

Wirelessbillconsultation.doc – Wireless Telegraphy Bill Consultation document

Wirelessbilldraft.pdf – Draft Wireless Telegraphy Bill

Wirelesspre-con.doc – Pre-Consolidation Amendments Order

CBE for Keith Todd, Chairman BSG

It has been announced that Keith Todd has been awarded a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for services to the Telecommunications Industry. This is a well deserved honour and recognition for the tremendous amount of work that Keith has put into driving the Broadband agenda over the last few years.

Keith has been the BSG’s independent Chairman since early 2002. He currently also holds the positions of Executive Chairman of Easynet Group plc, Executive Chairman of FFastFill plc and has his own consultancy Knotty Green Consultants Ltd.

Ofcom Internet and Broadband Update,

Ofcom’s recent report includes the news that:

  • there are now 3.99 million total broadband connections,
  • 15% of homes have broadband
  • 53% of UK adults have internet access at home, of whom 25% connect to the internet using broadband (from a survey in February 2004),
  • 68% of UK SMEs are connected to the internet, of which 37% use broadband as their main connection method.

Ofcom Internet and Broadband Update, April 2004

DTI note on Broadband and State Aid issues

The DTI State Aid Unit has published a guidance note on State Aid issues related to broadband projects for the RDAs and Devolved Administrations. This paper should be regarded as a work in progress and the DTI would be happy to consider comments. The DTI has pointed out that a further decision on another UK state aid case is expected from the European Commission in the latter half of May and the paper may need to be revised in the light of that decision.

Contact point:

Sean Kenny, Hugh Rawson or Edith Templeton
DTI State Aid Policy Unit Kingsgate House Room 230
66-74 Victoria Street London SW1E 6SW
Tel: 020 7215 8375
Fax: 020 7215 4468

DTI note on State Aid Issues April 2004

BSG Third Annual Report and Strategic Recommendations – documents

 

Appendix 1

Measuring Success – Broadband Dashboard Key Metrics’

Appendix 2

“Opportunities and Barriers to the use of Broadband in Education’, March 2003

Appendix 3

‘DRM: Missing Links in the Broadband Value Chain’, July 2003

Appendix 4

‘Options for accelerating the deployment of terrestrial fixed and portable wireless broadband services by 2005’, November 2003

Appendix 5

‘The Impact of Public Sector Interventions on Broadband in Rural Areas’, November 2003

Appendix 6

Report of the BSG Broadband Aggregation Group, December 2003

Appendix 7

BSG Discussion Document: ‘The challenge of financing the deployment of next generation broadband networks in the United Kingdom and the Civil Infrastructure Utility concept’, December 2003

Appendix 8

‘Broadband in Devolved Administrations’

Broadband Stakeholder Group calls for new broadband goals for 2010

The Broadband Stakeholder Group’s third annual report provides a definitive look at Broadband Britain at the beginning of 2004 highlighting significant progress made to date but warning there is no room for complacency as the challenge of delivering next generation broadband comes into view.

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the government’s key advisory group on broadband, today unveils its eagerly awaited third annual report on the development of Broadband Britain. The report provides the definitive view of progress made in 2003 before warning that there is much more to do to enable a broadband Britain.

The BSG report recommends that government, in consultation with stakeholders should set a new target for the next phase of the UK’s broadband journey and the deployment of next generation broadband services, with clear milestones to be reached before 2010.

Antony Walker, CEO, BSG argues:“It’s clear that broadband has taken off – people are seeing real benefits every day. The real challenge is to meet the growing expectations of both consumers and businesses as they adopt, adapt and absorb broadband into their daily lives and to make sure that we build a thriving and sustainable broadband market in the UK – this needs a new target for the next phase beyond 2005.”

The government’s 2005 target has been successful in stimulating action by both the government and private sector stakeholders. However, the UK can’t be complacent in its bid to keep up with international competitors. By setting new targets the government can re-focus on the next objectives and build on the good work done to date.

The BSG lists five critical challenges for the next phase of the development of broadband Britain.

The BSG’s Five Broadband Challenges

  1. Create, deliver and exploit value – moving businesses and consumers through the phases of adopting, adapting and absorbing as quickly as possible
  2. Building a thriving and competitive content services and applications sector in the UK – exploiting and optimising the potential of UK talent for creative media in a pro-competitive way
  3. Encourage investment in ‘next generation’ broadband infrastructures and services ahead of the demand curve – Government has a critical role in creating the right investment climate for technological development
  4. Developing new broadband ‘environments’ – moving towards a more integrated approach to fixed and mobile communications services with the development of interoperability between platforms, services and devices
  5. Bridge digital divides – breaking down barriers to universal adoption and use is critical

The report positions broadband as a highly disruptive force that is rapidly changing the communications landscape as well as many other related sectors. The success of stakeholder activity over the past three years has hastened the onset of valuable broadband services and is now creating new opportunities. However, there are also significant threats in a broadband enabled global economy where lower skilled service jobs are easily exportable off shore. The BSG warns that as Britain moves into the next phase of the broadband journey, a huge step change is required by all stakeholders in the prioritisation given to building a world leading broadband-based online economy.

Keith Todd, Chairman of the BSG said, “we’ve made very good progress – but there is much more to be done by all stakeholders to accelerate not just the adoption of broadband but also the exploitation of its full benefits by consumers, businesses and the public sector.”

Stephen Timms, Minister of State for Ecommerce welcomed the BSG report and the new recommendations for further action, stating: “excellent progress has been made in the last 12 months with a significant increase in coverage, choice and take up of broadband.

“However the BSG is right to say that there remains much to be done. The widespread adoption and use of broadband is key to further improving UK business productivity and competitiveness.

“The BSG has been very effective in harnessing and communicating the views of the stakeholder community and I look forward to continuing the dialogue with all stakeholders as we move the next stage in the development of broadband Britain.”