BSG Reports

BSG launches results of survey into broadband usage amongst 1000 micro-businesses

Today the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), launches the results of a detailed survey into the internet usage of 1000 micro-businesses (those with between 0-9 employees). The survey finds that although 87% of micro-businesses have an internet connection, older businesses – those in operation for more than five years – are less likely to be taking full advantage of the internet in growing their business. (more…)

BSG to launch report into broadband usage amongst 1000 micro-businesses.

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) will launch the results of a survey into the internet usage of 1000 micro-businesses at an event on the 17 November.

Details:

Monday, 17 November 1400-1600

techUK, 10 St Bride St, London EC4A 4AD

To register please email: events@broadbanduk.org

Although assertions are often made in the public domain about the bandwidth demands of
SMEs, our Capitalising on Connectivity report exposed a gap in the evidence base on SME internet usage as whole.

We committed to add to this evidence base and the BSG commissioned Comres, the leading market research company, to undertake a telephone based study focusing of 1000 micro-businesses, which make up 95% of all businesses in the UK and account for over 30% of turnover. In addition to data around take-up of superfast broadband products the survey also looks at the use of certain broadband-enabled services and the reasons the businesses do, and do not, utilise them.

Comres, who conducted telephone interviews with companies over the summer, will present their findings before a panel discussion involving operators and other stakeholders on how well understood micro-businesses’ demand for digital connectivity is and how it may change in the future.

This will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Richard Hooper CBE, which will include representatives from BT, TalkTalk and the CBI.

There will also be a drinks reception afterwards.

 

BSG publishes report into Out-of-home internet use

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…)

New BSG report reveals SMEs are not capitalising on potential of broadband and technology

A new report published today by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) identifies that SMEs are not yet unlocking the commercial potential of online activity and new technologies.

The report entitled Capitalising on Connectivity: Realising the benefits of broadband for UK Small and Medium Sized Enterprises identifies that despite estimates that increasing the digital capabilities of the UK’s SMEs can unlock economic returns of £18.8 billion (ref 1) evidence tells us that SMEs are not capitalising as best they might on this lever for economic growth (ref 2).

This report considers current data on SME engagement with connectivity, policy initiatives to support SME use of broadband and technology, alongside new BSG research.

It makes five recommendations regarding how to better understand SME use of technology and incentivise further take-up and exploitation of connectivity: (more…)

BSG publishes new model for analysing domestic demand for bandwidth

Today the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) published a report outlining a new way for measuring and forecasting demand for bandwidth in UK homes. The group called for greater policy attention to be given to how demand relates to infrastructure provision.

Pamela Learmonth, CEO of the BSG said, “Despite global interest in whether broadband infrastructure is currently meeting demand and will continue to do so, there is a lack of evidence and methodology available to inform this critical question. This was our key motivation for commissioning new research in this area and this study presents a technology-neutral approach to forecasting demand, rooted in the applications consumers want to access.???

The model for forecasting bandwidth demand, used in the BSG’s report, combines the usage profiles of various applications with the usage of profiles of individuals.  These individual profiles are then combined into various household profiles. 156 household profiles are modelled in the report, based on demographics, intensity of use and TV type. The household profiles have also been combined to create a picture of national demand. (more…)

Demand for superfast broadband in the UK: a solid start

11 October 2012

Today the UK’s leading broadband advisory body, the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) publishes a report that argues that initial demand for superfast broadband in the UK gives cause for optimism and confidence.

The study brings together public data on superfast broadband demand across various markets and probes headline figures to more fully understand actual consumer willingness to pay for superfast services.  Looking at the data from this new perspective, the report argues that, on the international stage: (more…)

ISPs launch Open Internet Code of Practice

Update, December 2014:

In the last quarter of 2014, EE, Vodafone and Virgin agreed to become signatories to the Open Internet Code. This is reflected in the list of signatories and contact details in Annex 1.

The updated version of the code can be found at: BSG – Open Internet Code of Practice amended November 2014.

Update, June 2013:

In July 2012, the Open Internet Code was published.  The full press release relating to this launch is set out below.

In May 2013 this code was amended to:

  • Clarify that signatories would not be infringing the code if they deployed content filtering or made available content filtering tools where appropriate for public wi-fi access
  • Publish details of how the voluntary system in support of commitment 2, relating to negative discrimination would operate

This updated code can be accessed here.

 

Original post:

Today leading internet service providers (ISPs) are signing a voluntary code of practice in support of the open internet.

The code commits ISPs to the provision of full and open internet access products and confirms that traffic management practices will not be used to target and degrade the services of a competitor.

This initiative builds on the transparency code of practice published in 2011 which ensures that clear, understandable and comparable information on traffic management practices is available to consumers. (more…)

Broadband providers launch new traffic management transparency code

New initiative will help consumers and policy makers make informed choices

Update, June 2013:

In March 2011, the BSG published, on behalf of the signatory ISPs, a code of practice on traffic management transparency.  The code can be downloaded here.

The press release accompanying its launch is set out below, explaining the commitment contained in the code.  In accordance with the code signatory ISPs subsequently published Key Facts Indicators in relation to their traffic management policies. Hyperlinks to this information from all signatory ISPs can be found here.

Please note that shortly after the issue of the below press release, EE signed up to the code in March 2011.

The latest version of the code, issued in May 2013, reflects the additional and subsequent signatories of the code: BE, giffgaff, KCOM, PlusNet and Tesco Mobile.

 

Orginal post:

BSkyB, BT, O2, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone will today sign up to a new voluntary commitment to provide better and more easily comparable information to consumers about traffic management. Together these companies account for 90% of all fixed-line broadband customers and 60% of all mobile customers in the UK. (more…)

New study highlights potential of wireless and satellite to deliver next generation broadband

The Broadband Stakeholder Group published a new study today by Analysys Mason on the costs and capabilities of wireless and satellite technologies.

The report provides a snapshot view looking forward to 2016 and finds that:

  • Terrestrial wireless can provide a cost effective alternative to fibre in some rural areas, but would require more masts to be built and the use of external antennas on residential buildings
  • Satellite will provide an effective solution for delivering next generation broadband in the hardest to reach locations
  • The release of more spectrum would further reduce the cost and increase the capability of wireless and satellite solutions. (more…)

BSG Position Paper on government intervention in NGA released

BSG has released a new position paper, ‘approach to government intervention in the deployment of next generation broadband’.

The paper provides a view on how the new coalition government should think about intervention in the deployment of NGA in the UK. There are many uncertainties and unknowns in the debate, and as the new government develops its broadband policy, it is important that the issues raised in this paper are considered and addressed should the government decide to intervene.

The paper also incorporates BSG’s response to the previous government’s next generation fund consultation, and its review of the fibre cost model.

Download BSG position paper

BIS Consultation on proposals for a Next Generation Fund

BSG and Value Partners publish new White Paper on Broadband Infrastructure

In the debate over the capability of broadband networks, the voice of companies and organisations that offer services and applications over the internet has been lost.

To address this, the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) and Value Partners Management Consulting today launch a White Paper, Broadband Infrastructure: The Service and Application Providers’ View.

This White Paper provides insight into what companies and organisations that offer services and applications over the internet really think about the UK’s broadband infrastructure today and how it might evolve in the future. (more…)

Broadband in the time of swine flu

In a deep global recession the last thing the world needs is a new economic shock, but that seems to be exactly what we are facing. The World Health Organisation raised its flu pandemic alert level to 5 yesterday and governments around the world are stocking up on anti-viral drugs and face masks, however, broadband could prove to be just as important in helping the UK to cope with a flu pandemic.

In what turned out to be a highly prescient piece of work, the BSG explored the role of broadband in a global pandemic in its 2008 report on the value of next generation broadband to the UK. Broadband didn’t exist when the UK was last hit by a flu pandemic but its near universal availability today could prove vital in ensuring that the economy keeps going in the event of large numbers of people falling ill.

Many large organisations will already have flu pandemic contingency plans in place but almost all organisations should be thinking about how they could use broadband to help them cope with the disruption that could result if the flu virus really does take gripe in the UK.

The advice from government, if you notice symptoms, is to stay at home and call the NHS for advice. However, it is not only those who are sick who are likely to be staying at home. In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus through their staff, many companies will be recommending that employees avoid crowded offices and public transport and work remotely from home instead.

This should help many companies maintain a continuity of service but will also have an additional benefit of reducing the pressure on public transport systems, which will themselves face severe disruption as key staff fall ill.

Remote presence provides all sorts of options and flexibility for coping with a pandemic which may well require draconian social distancing measures to be put in place.

For instance, while many school children and no doubt some teachers will relish the thought of schools being closed, remote learning could be implemented so that children continue to be educated, even while school buildings are closed. Remote diagnosis and support could alleviate some of the pressure on the health service, while preventing the spread of the virus through facilitating treatment in the home (and avoiding infecting our invaluable healthcare professionals).

The 2008 BSG report went as far as trying to calculate the economic value that broadband would offer in a pandemic. Essentially we estimated that, based on the probability of a pandemic, a given mortality rate, the economic value of a life, and assuming next generation broadband could reduce the mortality rate by 5% by enabling more social distancing measures, the annual benefit in terms of avoided deaths would be £200m.

The role that broadband could play in the event of this pandemic becoming a reality should highlight to government the importance of ensuring everyone is connected – a ubiquitous broadband society has far more tools to deal with the pandemic threat than an equivalent less-connected society.

More than this, however, it should highlight the importance to government of ensuring their own services make full use of broadband and have the flexibility to continue to function and support society as events, such as pandemics, unfold.

Peter Shearman, Policy Manager, BSG

Broadband in the Budget

In yesterday’s Budget, Alastair Darling stated government’s support for the knowledge economy and the communications sector, and set out a number of policies affecting the broadband industry. Broadly, the top-line statements were as follows.

– Government re-iterates its support for the broadband universal service commitment set out in the Digital Britain Interim Report; will consult on using Digital Switchover Help Scheme underspend to fund the policy.

– Government will review the powers and duties of Ofcom “in advance of the Digital Britain Report” so that it can “strike the right balance between delivering competition and encouraging investment”.

– Government’s doubling of the capital cost allowances to 40% could aid up to £10bn on investment in communications infrastructure.

– Government has approved the South Yorkshire Digital Region next generation broadband project.

The BSG has published its response to these measures. While we support the government’s commitment to the broadband universal service commitment, we are concerned that the proposals set out on next generation broadband will not support more widespread investment and coverage than current market commitments.

It is not clear that the one year capital cost allowances increase, while providing a useful stimulus for existing investment commitment, will incentivise next generation broadband deployment given the timescales of investment and deployment, which will take many years (although it may have some limited impact in incentivising Virgin Media to invest, who are planning small expansions to their footprint over the next year).

More importantly, the characteristics of the costs of deployment mean that specific, targeted measures are required in areas where market-led deployment will not reach, rather than a blanket subsidy across all areas including those that are already commercially viable.

However, a potentially more significant development is the review of Ofcom’s powers and duties. Essentially, this would appear to come down to re-focusing Ofcom more towards promoting investment, as opposed to promoting competition. While not necessarily opposing principles (stronger competition should spur investment), there is certainly a balance to be struck, particularly given the scale of the investment required for next generation broadband.

This reflects an issue the BSG raised in January 2004 in its 3rd Annual Report (pp116-121). There was a concern then that the focus on short-term consumer interest could drive static efficiency in the market, at the expense of the dynamic efficiencies of investment.

The announcement of this review could be a sign that this argument has found support amongst senior policymakers.

Peter Shearman, Policy Manager, BSG