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.???

BSG Wireless Broadband Report:

Options for accelerating the deployment of terrestrial fixed and portable wireless broadband services by 2005

Wireless broadband technologies have the potential to play a critical role in the development of Broadband Britain and will be essential for: extending platform competition across the UK market; extending broadband coverage to rural areas; and enabling the introduction of new higher speed next generation broadband services.

In its second annual report the BSG highlighted wireless broadband technologies as having the potential to make the biggest impact on extending coverage and enhancing competition by 2005.

The term wireless can be used to describe a wide range of technologies and platforms including satellite and mobile (GPRS, and 3G) etc, all of which have a vital role to play in the development of Broadband Britain. However, this report is focused specifically on the issues related to fixed wireless access and W-LAN type services that provide service characteristics similar to or better than equivalent fixed line broadband platforms such as ADSL and Cable.

The objective of this report is to examine the reasons for the lack of progress in terrestrial wireless broadband deployment to date and to explore potential regulatory options for expediting the deployment of wireless broadband services by 2005 in order to influence the UK’s target to have the most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7. The report also looks at the longer-term requirements for spectrum (post 2005) for wireless broadband services.

In addition to this report the BSG has recently published a report on the Impact of Public Sector Interventions on Broadband in Rural Areas , which sets out the range of public and private sector initiatives currently being developed at national, regional and local level across the UK. It is recommended that these reports are read together in order to gain a better picture of the full range of commercial and public sector and regulatory initiatives aimed at extending broadband coverage to rural areas.

BSG Wireless Report: Options for accelerating the deployment of terrestrial fixed and portable wireless broadband services by 2005

BSG Rural Broadband Report: The Impact of Public Sector Interventions on Broadband in Rural Areas

BSG Broadband Britain Conference 2003 – Realising the value of broadband

Supported by DTI

Over 300 people attended last month’s BSG Broadband Britain Conference in London (28-29 October). The event was themed around realising the value of broadband and how it is starting to provide real benefits for users, consumers, small businesses, public services and communities and how this growing broadband value proposition can be translated into real commercial success for the companies and organisations that make up the broadband value chain.

The presentations from the conference are available to view as pdfs below:

Session 1 – The Consumer Value Proposition – James Crabtree/Simon Roberts, iSociety

Session 2 – The Business Value Proposition – Jenny Searle, Oracle

Session 3 – The Public Value of Broadband – Jamie Bend, IPPR (Speech)

Session 4 – The Community Value of Broadband – William Dutton, Oxford Internet Institute

Session 5 – The Commercial Value of Broadband – David Cleevely, Analysys

BSG Rural Broadband Report:

The Impact of Public Sector Interventions on Broadband in Rural Areas

Significant barriers exist to the extension of mass-market broadband coverage to rural areas. In some of the most remote parts of the country, the economics are so challenging that it is reasonable to assume that the market will probably not deliver to 100% of the population in the foreseeable future without some form of public sector intervention or support. To that end, in some areas of the UK, public sector funding/support may be required to ensure coverage. However, determining the appropriate level and mechanism to intervene will need to be considered in the context of the long-term impact on competition.

In recognition of this, the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) developed the GBP30 million UK Broadband Fund to help RDAs and Devolved Administrations stimulate supply and demand for broadband services in rural areas. This fund helped spawn the creation of many initiatives and models of public sector intervention.

With the UK Broadband Fund coming to an end, and in light of e-Commerce Minister Stephen Timms recent call for broadband coverage to be extended to every community by the end of 2005, as well as recent announcements from BT regarding their demand registration campaign, it is important to look at what types of initiatives have worked and what have not and what the requirements for public sector intervention might be going forward. The overall question is how do all of these initiatives impact on the Government’s objective to have the most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005 as well as the achievement of availability to 100% of communities by the end of 2005.

The purpose of this report therefore is to provide a picture of where we currently stand with regard to the deployment and take-up of broadband in rural areas.

In addition to this report the BSG has recently published a wireless report ‘Options for accelerating the deployment of terrestrial fixed and portable wireless broadband services by 2005’. It is recommended that these reports are read together in order to gain a better picture of the full range of commercial and public sector and regulatory initiatives aimed at extending broadband coverage to rural areas.

BSG Rural Broadband Report: The Impact of Public Sector Interventions on Broadband in Rural Areas

BSG Wireless Report: Options for accelerating the deployment of terrestrial fixed and portable wireless broadband services by 2005

Latest UK Fixed Line Broadband Coverage Maps show significant improvement in coverage

The BSG in conjunction with the DTI, have released the latest fixed line broadband coverage map (cable and DSL). The national map demonstrates that as at the end of September 2003, approximately 80% of the UK has access to a mass-market broadband solution – that is one that is targeted at residential or small business users. This represents a significant improvement over the 71% figure at the end of July. Also available are maps for each of the 9 English Regions as well as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Please note that current coverage includes exchanges that have been committed to be enabled by the end of 2003.

United Kingdon

Half of all UK homes now have Internet access according to new consumer research published by Oftel

The key findings of the research show:

12.5 million UK households are now on-line, with 750,000 new connections over the last three months

Around one million Internet customers are likely to upgrade to broadband over the next 12 months
UK prices for dial-up Internet access are cheaper than other European countries surveyed, with prices for residential broadband generally below the European average
The UK offers a wider availability of unmetered services than other countries surveyed.
Oftel has published the following quarterly research reports:

Consumers” use of fixed telephony – August 2003 Consumers” use of mobile telephony – August 2003 Consumers” use of Internet – August 2003 Business use of Internet – August 2003

Oftel has also published an “International benchmarking report” of Internet services covering both basic dial-up access and broadband services. The report covers Internet services in France, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom and the US (the States of Ohio and California are used for dial-up services; the study covers a number of the largest providers of broadband who offer services across a range of States).

NB: these Oftel reports are now all stored in the Ofcom archive and can be found using their search facility –

Government proposes to change existing planning regulations for satellite dishes and antennae

BSG welcomes new planning regulations consultation

10 April 2003

The BSG welcomed the Government proposals to change existing planning regulations this week which means that householders will have more freedom to install satellite dishes and other antennae on their houses so that they can have greater access to broadband and digital TV. The proposals are in part a response to a recommendation made by the BSG in their first report to Government in November 2001.

The government has suggested relaxing the rules that currently restrict the number and type of dishes and antennae that can be installed on the outside of a dwelling, block of flats or commercial buildings, as part of its drive to improve the take-up of broadband and digital TV. The most far-reaching of these proposals would see the elimination of many of today’s existing restrictions.

Launching the consultation Planning Minister Jeff Rooker said:

“The best way to make the planning system work for the community is to ask people what they want, and that’s what this document is all about. We are committed to delivering equality of access to digital TV and broadband across the country and this document is an important step in that direction.”

The BSG will look forward to putting together a submission echoing our initial recommendation to the consultation process which closes on 4 July.

Intellect members lead the way in Broadband adoption and show the rest of the SME community the way it should be done

ICICI InfotechT – PlanA recent survey, conducted by Intellect and Intel, has shown that the ICT sector is leading the way in broadband adoption in the UK. Just over half (52%) of the Intellect SME members surveyed have adopted Broadband as their main method of accessing the Internet. This penetration rate is significantly higher than the SME average across the UK which currently stands at just 28%.

According to the majority of organisations interviewed broadband had a transformational effect – “It’s like having a dishwasher” said one company “you think it’s a bit of a luxury before you get it and then within a week you are using it all the time and can’t imagine how you ever coped without it”.

Antony Walker, Chief Executive Officer of the Broadband Stakeholder Group commented, “The results are exceptional, and prove that the ICT sector is truly leading by example. The challenge for organisations now however will be to build on this success and to begin to make full use of the extra bandwidth, not just to speed up Internet access, but to improve working methods, empower employees and develop and deliver new services to customers.”

The BSG in association with CBI, British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Communications Management Association (CMA) are holding a half day seminar on Thursday 16 October at the CBI Conference Centre, Centre Point 09:00 – 13:00.

This event will bring together various pieces of research exploring sectoral and national views on the business benefits of broadband and how these fit into the whole e-business value chain which will include Intellect’s research, BCC’s recent study and the CBI’s eBusiness survey.

Intellect has prepared a set of case studies that explore the way in which some of its SME members are using broadband, and how it has changed the way they do things. Key benefits range from improved productivity and efficiency and an enhanced work-life balance and reduction of risk when undergoing growth.

Case Studies Summary




ICICI Infotech

E-Advantage Solutions




The Growth Consultancy

Executive Summary