The BSG brings together organisations from right across the fixed and mobile broadband value chain. They include fixed and mobile network operators, infrastructure providers, manufacturers, broadcasters, new media companies, and content producers. Whilst sponsors inevitably have divergent opinions on policy areas due to their individual commercial strategies, they are united by a set of broad principles as a collective. As BSG, our mission is to convene the industry collective with our government sponsor and the regulator in support of a work programme to inform and shape the broadband policy agenda.
Delivering Gigabit Britain
In 2019 the government declared its intention that the UK becomes fully gigabit-enabled by 2025. We have made significant progress and industry stands ready to deliver the ambitious plans, but conditions need to allow for it and barriers must be overcome. Also, the demand side must be given more attention to encouraging take-up so that consumers, businesses, and government can benefit from the content and services that 5G and full fibre have to offer. Regulatory and direct policy interventions (i.e. subsidy) are necessary to provide access in cases of economic bottlenecks or market failure. Such measures should be targeted, with a specific goal, whilst minimising adverse effects on competition and investment.
With COVID-19 necessitating the majority of staff across UK businesses to work remotely, there is huge pressure on telcos to ensure networks run as they should to meet employee and customer needs and expectations. Embracing digital innovation and leveraging capabilities has become even more critical to address today’s new demands. Ensuring that everyone can access the internet is an important and complex issue; the first step is providing the necessary digital infrastructure, but issues such as the seeing the relevance, possessing the necessary skills and having the ability to pay for both equipment and internet access are all important and interlinked challenges. Greater prominence must be given to this area alongside better research to understand these problems.
Consumer transparency and choice
We are living through a communications revolution where people are more reliant on fixed and mobile services more than ever. As the internet continues to grow and transform lives the right balance must be struck between an open internet and one in which users are protected from online harm. The UK aims to be the safest place in the world to be online and the best place to start and grow a digital business. It is also vital that consumers have clear and easily accessible information to make informed choices about services, that it is easy to switch between providers.
The Open Internet
The BSG has played a leading role in bringing content and service providers – who are often in opposing camps on this issue – together and facilitating a self-regulatory approach. This ensures that content providers’ justified concerns about being discriminated are addressed whilst allowing service providers to provide innovative products that benefit the consumer.
Trade and telecoms
Ensuring that everyone can access the internet is an important and complex issue. The first step is providing the necessary digital infrastructure but issues such as the seeing the relevance, possessing the necessary skills and having the ability to pay for both computing equipment and internet access are important and interlinked challenges. Greater prominence must be given to this area alongside better research to understand these problems.