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…)
Ofcom has published proposals to change the way it licenses non-geostationary satellite orbit (NGSO) systems, also known as Low Earth Orbit (LEO) based ultrafast broadband satellite constellations, such as British-registered OneWeb, which will connect people to the internet in hard-to-reach areas. The process will consist of new checks on potential interference between networks and publishing licence applications so that other interested parties have an opportunity to raise any interference or competition concerns. Under the proposed licence conditions, different networks will be required to co-operate with each other on technical matters to avoid the risk of disruption to their services. (more…)
According to Ofcom’s research, many people on low incomes are still struggling to pay their bills. Data collected shows that around two million households reported an affordability issue with broadband and/or smartphone services in the month before they were surveyed, or do not have internet at home partly due to cost. The 3.3 million households with the lowest incomes in the UK spend on average over 4% of their disposable income on fixed broadband, nearly four times more than the proportion of an average household. (more…)
Ofcom has published a statement on its spectrum strategy, identifying three areas of increased focus:
Supporting wireless innovation: Making it even easier for a broad range of users to access spectrum by making more spectrum available for innovation before its long-term future use is certain; working to support innovation in new wireless technologies; and expanding work to understand, assist and inform the broad range of organisations who may benefit from wireless technologies in the future. (more…)
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…)
The BDUK team at the DCMS has identified that 234,000 premises in Wales will be in scope of the Project Gigabit programme – meaning they won’t benefit from the commercial build and thus require public subsidy to go further. This includes rural towns and villages in Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, the Isle of Anglesey, Pembrokeshire and Powys. The government will set out the timetable for the delivery of these connections once it has agreed on the procurement process with the Welsh Government. In addition, a further £24 million will fund the rollout of gigabit broadband in ten local authority areas in Northern Ireland. The Full Fibre Northern Ireland (FFNI) scheme will see 969 hospitals, GP surgeries, ambulance and fire stations, community and leisure centres, council offices and other public buildings connected to gigabit-capable networks. (more…)
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 London Mayor announced that high speed mobile coverage will be delivered across the London Underground network, alongside a new full-fibre network to provide London’s homes and businesses with faster internet and better connectivity. The technology will support 4G and 5G rollout and will be the most advanced of its kind in the world, helping to support London’s economic growth. Work is underway across the Tube network, with first stations – including Oxford Circus, Tottenham Court Road, Euston, Bank and Camden Town – going live by the end of 2022. (more…)
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…)
Ofcom has published a research report on the experiences of some customers in vulnerable circumstances who have been in contact with their communication providers, and compares their experience with the measures in Ofcom’s Treating vulnerable customers fairly guide. To accompany the research, Ofcom published a summary document containing key findings from the research and insights from its recent engagement with customer organisations and charities. (more…)
Consultation on regulations to implement the Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) ActGulistan Ladha
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…)
Ofcom’s Online Nation 2021 report provides a snapshot of 2020.
- 94% of UK households had internet access in March 2021 with 6% of homes (around one and a half million) without access.
- UK adults spent more than 3.5 hours online each day in 2020 and spent nearly £2.45 billion on mobile apps across the year.
- Fixed broadband is by far the most common method for connecting to the internet at home at 92%, mobile data at 49% and mobile broadband at 16%.
- The smartphone is the most-used device for accessing the internet for all age groups apart from those aged 65+ who access via computer mostly. One in ten adults said they use only a smartphone to go online.
- Teenagers are spending more money online than offline.
- 59% of UK children use social media by the time they are 11 and 95% by the age of 15.
- The UK’s online shopping bill increased by almost 50% to nearly £113 billion.
- In total, online entertainment and audio-visual media generated £5.6 billion in UK revenue.
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…)