Ofcom yesterday launched an action plan for improving the broadband services that are available to the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Whilst they found that the vast majority of SMEs are satisfied with the communications and are well catered for, they did discover a significant minority who had less favourable experiences. Ofcom highlighted four issues that they feel need more attention; the availability of superfast broadband, a concentrated retail market structure, concerns around quality of service, and SMEs struggling to navigate the market.
Sharon White delivered today her first major speech as Ofcom’s Chief Executive at a Which? Conference. She stressed that Ofcom will continue to carry out its role as a light touch regulator, encouraging competition and investment, but with an increased consumer focus. As part of her speech, Sharon White highlighted some elements of Ofcom’s work programme, including the improvement of the process for consumers to switch broadband and landline providers, the upcoming Digital Communications Review, and confirming the government’s commitment to deliver the Universal Service Obligation of 5Mbit/s.
The #Budget2015 had a few more nuggets about broadband and telecoms that previous statements with an ambition for ‘ultrafast’ broadband to nearly all premises and a new Universal Service Obligation for broadband. (more…)
Recent weeks have seen a lot of debate in Whitehall and Westminster around what should be the minimum download/upload speeds that premises and households can access. This raises a number of important questions as to what exactly we mean when we say that broadband is ‘essential’, ‘the fourth utility’ or even ‘a fundamental right’.
The ninth annual report published on 28 January explores the consumers’ experience of the use telecoms, the internet (predominantly fixed broadband), digital broadcasting and postal services in 2014. It is accompanied by a Consumer Experience Policy Evaluation which assesses the impact of Ofcom’s policy work and activities against the findings of the research.
So 2015’s bigger, louder and better (?) Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has closed. From afar it looked as though this year was more about the direction and theme of the tech industry – with more 4K/Ultra High Definition televisions and an explosion in ‘connected’ devices appearing to be the main two– rather than about one device winning through.
BSG publishes new report on the future of mobile and public-WiFi usage
Today the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), who are the Government’s leading advisory group on broadband, published a report examining the trends and drivers of out-of-home internet usage, how that usage is likely to grow in the future and what needs to be done to meet that growth. (more…)
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published a report on the coverage and performance of broadband provision in the UK from the perspective of SMEs.
Much of the focus on improving access to the internet has been understandably focused on rural areas. However, research undertaken for Ofcom by Analysys Mason not only shows that slow broadband and Next Generation Access (NGA) availability affect a significant minority of households in urban areas – but that these households tend to be those on the lowest incomes.
Another new year, another Consumer Electronics Show, where Las Vegas plays host to the latest developments in consumer technology. There’s been plenty of coverage on the weird and the wonderful in the press, but at the BSG we’ve been interested to note a growing conversation about bandwidth needs for the cutting edge products poised to dominate the market.
UHDTV or 4K video streaming has been a notable highlight. Firstly, Google showcased their low-bandwidth 4K YouTube streaming called VP9, and have been working closely with a range of the big electronics firms and device manufacturers on its implementation. Netflix also took to the stage to promote its 4K services, with CEO Reed Hastings stating will require 15Mb/s of bandwidth compressed using HEVC. Interestingly, Broadcom also announced 5G Wi-Fi chips for tripling bandwidth in wireless home networking. (more…)
Full Fibre Broadband
The UK’s broadband infrastructure is undergoing an important period of change. We’re moving away from a reliance on outdated copper lines in favour of future-proof fibre optic links. In place of a creaking phone network which was never built with the internet in mind, the fibre lines spreading throughout the country can provide far greater connection speeds without the signal degradation which affects copper cabling over long distances. (more…)
In the latest instalment of The Institute of Directors’ Infrastructure for Business surveys looks at views on fixed-line and mobile internet services for over 1,100 businesses. Survey questions mainly look at speed satisfaction rates, and there are a number of useful insights into the growing digital divide between urban and rural areas. (more…)