Government

Project Gigabit – summer update

The government has published a summer update on the Project Gigabit Delivery plan and procurement pipeline. It reveals that up to 1,850,000 additional premises across 26 counties in England will get access to gigabit-capable broadband. This brings the current total number of premises in scope for government-funded coverage to 2.2 million, with more still to be announced over the coming months across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The government expresses confidence in exceeding the gigabit coverage target (85% of UK premises) by 2025. (more…)

Project Gigabit: Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Public Review

As part of Project Gigabit, Building Digital UK (BDUK) is consulting on a new procurement to extend the coverage of gigabit-capable broadband across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly in South West England. BDUK is requesting information and supporting evidence on gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure within the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly intervention area and would like to hear from all relevant stakeholders in relation to the target intervention area found in the Request For Information document. (more…)

Government launches SONIC Labs

The government has launched a real-world testing facility, SONIC Labs, to help accelerate the adoption of Open RAN technology and help Britain diversify its supply chain. The lab will bring in multiple providers to supply components for 5G radio equipment. It is being run by Ofcom and Digital Catapult, who have built the facility using existing Digital Catapult infrastructure and capability, £1 million of seed funding from DCMS, and a bespoke SONIC Labs branch as part of Ofcom’s Innovation Lab in Riverside House. It will work with a diverse range of vendors to explore new open approaches to telecoms networks.

This is part of the government’s Diversification Strategy and follows the establishment of the Telecoms Diversification Taskforce aimed at reducing the reliance on high-risk vendors and bringing more players into the market.

The GigaTAG publishes its final report

The Gigabit Take-up Advisory Group (GigaTAG) was set up in August 2020, led by Which? to look into how to stimulate demand among consumers and businesses for gigabit-capable broadband. The final report has been published. BSG was part of the advisory group as the voice of the industry. To coincide with the launch of the report, Which? CBI, FSB, Ofcom and BSG hosted a panel discussion to explore the recommendations set out in the report and how these can be taken forward. (more…)

Consultation on regulations to implement the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act

The Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Act, which received Royal Assent in March, creates a new route through the courts that operators can use to access blocks of flats and apartments if a landowner is repeatedly unresponsive to requests for access. The Act will prevent a situation where a leaseholder is unable to receive a service due to the silence of their landowner. (more…)

Detailed Overview of the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy Scheme

The government has published ‘Delivering a gigabit-capable UK: Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy‘ which provides an end to end overview of how the government will manage the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy scheme within Project Gigabit.

By way of background, the Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review published in July 2018 laid out a vision for a full fibre and 5G future for the UK highlighting the considerable potential benefits to the UK. One key finding was that the UK was in danger of falling behind on rolling out fibre and 5G connections and proposed as part of a wider range of measures an “outside in” procurement approach, named the Gigabit Infrastructure Subsidy. (more…)

UK Gigabit Programme: Cambridgeshire Public Review

Building Digital UK (BDUK) has launched ‘Project Gigabit Lot 5 Public Review‘ which is seeking information and supporting evidence about gigabit-capable broadband infrastructure within the Cambridgeshire project area.

Connecting Cambridgeshire conducted an Open Market Review (OMR) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in December 2020. This review process aims to validate the outcome of the OMR to ensure it correctly represents the information provided by suppliers and that the right areas are targeted for government investment. Stakeholders, including broadband infrastructure operators, ISPs, the public, and businesses, are invited to provide feedback about the proposed eligible areas for government investment (intervention). (more…)

National Security and Investment Act  

The new National Security and Investment Act enhances the government’s ability to investigate and intervene in mergers, acquisitions and other deals that could threaten the UK’s national security. The new measures are designed to simplify and speed up the investment screening process for investors and businesses. A new Investment Council will act as an advisory body to the UK government on foreign investment, made up of private sector global senior leaders from a variety of industries, including technology and infrastructure. The Council will operate alongside the recently formed Office for Investment, tasked with landing high-value investment opportunities in infrastructure, clean technologies and R&D.  (more…)

The new Digital Markets Unit

In November 2020 the government announced the establishment of a regulatory watchdog to enforce a new pro-competition regime covering platforms with considerable market power. The new Digital Markets Unit (DMU) has now been set up within the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The new regulatory regime will require legislation to grant it full powers, and the government is expected to consult on proposals this year. In the meantime, it will sit within the CMA on a non-statutory basis. The recently published Terms of Reference set out the role. In the immediate term the focus of the DMU will be on the following: (more…)

Prime Minister and Digital Secretary praise broadband companies

The Prime Minister and Digital Secretary met with the CEOs of the major broadband organisations today and praised the industry for creating more than 22,000 jobs over the last year. They welcomed the commitment from the organisations to help the nation build back better from the pandemic with gigabit broadband rollout, and underlined the government’s support to help industry’s efforts to connect as many homes and businesses as possible by 2025. The government has increased its forecast and new figures show rollout will reach 60 per cent by the end of 2021 (up from 50 per cent), putting the UK on track to be among the fastest build rates in Europe. (more…)