News

Autumn Statement 2016 – New investments in digital communications within the next 5 years

Chancellor Philip Hammond reaffirmed today the need for the UK to level-up its ambition for world class connectivity in an Autumn Statement placing digital communications infrastructure as a priority area of investment, critical to boosting UK productivity. The Chancellor confirmed the Government’s plans to invest over £1billion in the roll-out of full-fibre connections and future 5G communication.

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BSG Comment: Government pushes towards a Fibre and 5G Future

The Government has briefed that it will be unveiling two new programmes in tomorrow’s Autumn Statement to make good on its view that the future is fibre (to the premise variety) and 5G. The BSG welcomes this focus on digital connectivity. All BSG members believe that good quality broadband underpins, drives and improves our society and economy.

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Advertising Standards Authority research confirms need to review standards for advertising speed claims

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) published yesterday research into consumers’ understanding of broadband speed claims made in adverts. The study was commissioned following growing concerns that consumers were misled by adverts for broadband services citing headline speeds that customers did not actually receive. The research conducted by consultancy GfK found that connection speeds were still the predominant factor for the majority of consumers when choosing a service and that a majority expected to receive the maximum speed advertised.

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The UK telecoms sector post Brexit

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) hosted its Annual Conference on Monday 31 October 2016 with a focus on what Brexit means for the UK telecoms sector. Our speakers gave their views on where the opportunities and risks could be for the sector pre and post Brexit. We heard from a range of experts about the key role of European national regulatory authorities in shaping EU policies and regulations and how the UK telecoms regulatory system might evolve, in particular in the context of the review of the EU framework for communications.

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Broadband DIY gets a tutorial

It’s fair to say that the UK’s experience of community led broadband schemes has not been evenly distributed. The work of B4RN and others is nothing sort of transformational but there have been other examples of networks collapsing under financial strain or more often simply never getting off the ground. Their reputation was further tarnished by the unsuccessful Rural Community Broadband Fund. One of the complaints from communities was that there were few easily accessible case studies and tutorials. BDUK have now rectified this with a good portal containing case studies and guidance.

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Fibre and 5G are the Future

The first lines of Matt Hancock’s speech to Broadband World Forum last week weren’t shy in setting out the general theme. Hancock’s previous speeches had shown that more than most, he ‘gets’ the role that technology can, does and may play in all of our lives. So did his predecessor Ed Vaisey. But what marked this speech out was an unapologetic focus on fibre; as he described it, the future.

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Business rates revaluation will hit broadband infrastructure providers…and ultimately consumers

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) announced last week a fourfold rise in business rates (taxes on the value of real estates) on some major infrastructure providers’ bills. The revaluation was judged “excessive” by BT, whose Bill increases from £165m to £743m per annum,  who added that the increase in rates will likely lead to higher prices for consumers and businesses. Virgin Media echoed BT’s concerns on the likely negative impact of the increase on future investment decision in telecoms infrastructure.

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Increasing transparency of businesses broadband speeds – Ofcom’s voluntary Code of Practice for ISPs comes into force

Under the new voluntary Ofcom Code, Internet Service Providers commit to give businesses “clearer, more accurate and transparent information on broadband speeds before they sign up to a contract”. If the promised upload and download speeds fall below the guaranteed levels, businesses will be able to leave their contract with no penalties. The Code was launched earlier this year but comes into force today.

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Comparison website finds that 77% of UK businesses are satisfied with broadband but downtime remains a problem

The Broadband Genie annual business broadband report published today found that 1.5 million businesses in the UK (23% of all businesses) encounter broadband issues at least once a week, costing them on average £904 for every hour broadband is down. The broadband comparison website surveyed 500 firms from across the UK and also found that nearly half of businesses have no dedicated staff responsible for resolving issues with a broadband connection despite expenses costing between £1000 and £5000 per hour for 16% of businesses.

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Bundles – Consumers are struggling to find the one that fits their needs

According to a recent survey by consultancy firm Ernst & Young, the fast evolution of the bundle market combined with significant changes in the broadband infrastructure has translated into a vast array of service offerings. This is a sign that innovation and competition in the market are alive and well, however the complexity of the bundles leave in some cases consumers confused. The report suggests that to turn dissatisfied (and willing to switch) customers into loyal customers, service providers should be doing more to tailor their bundle packages to meet the needs of the diverse range of consumers (from “digital devotees” and “loyal bundlers” to “serious about sports” and “functional users”).

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European Commission unveils plans to create a European Gigabit Society

The European Commission published yesterday its proposals to achieve its vision for a European Gigabit society with ambitious targets from 5G coverage to access for all European households (rural and urban) to internet speeds of 100Mbit/s by 2025. Legislative and policy proposals include a review of the EU regulatory framework for telecoms, an Action Plan on 5G connectivity and new financial instruments as well as additional public funding for a WiFi voucher scheme that will benefit 6000 to 8000 local communities in the EU by 2020.

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BSG Annual Conference – The UK Telecoms landscape after Brexit – Monday 31 October 2016

The Broadband Stakeholder Group is delighted to invite you to our free Annual Conference on Monday 31 October 2016.

The outcome of the 23rd of June referendum naturally sparked immediate debate and considerable speculation on the future of the UK post Brexit. The BSG Annual Conference of 2016 will focus on what the telecoms sector is looking for from the UK’s new relationship with the EU – and give a taste of how we will be able to exercise influence of EU decision-making. The all-day event will see experts exploring issues specific to the UK telecoms sector, considering the challenges but also the opportunities for the sector pre and post-Brexit.

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BEREC advises national regulators on new EU Open Internet rules

BEREC, the European body of National Regulators for Electronic Communications, issued its Guidelines of interpretation of the Open Internet rules (EU Regulation 2015/2120). In implementing the Regulation in the UK, Ofcom will need to take “utmost account” of BEREC’s recommendations. Whilst the Guidelines do not impinge on the UK’s approach to the Open Internet, they build on the new BSG Open Internet Code of Practice, recently reviewed to reflect the requirements of the new EU rules.

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Ofcom’s consultation on the broadband USO – responses highlight divergence of visions

Ofcom published last week a summary of responses to its April 2016 consultation on the design of the broadband universal service obligation (USO). The Government proposed last year to introduce a USO of 10Mbit/s available to all premises and tasked Ofcom to produce technical advice and recommendations to support its design. 115 responses to Ofcom’s call for inputs (CFI) were received, highlighting various perspectives and approaches to achieve universal decent broadband coverage in the UK.

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