News

BSG Report: Local Benefits for Full Fibre and 5G

The Broadband Stakeholder Group publishes research by Oxera to help local authorities understand the localised economic benefits of full-fibre and 5G

Key localised economic benefits of full-fibre and 5G include:

  • Local authorities can see up to 3.2 per cent increase in new businesses operating in the area. If reflected in business rates, a local authority could see an increase in gross revenue of over £10,000[1]
  • Existing businesses will see an increase in productivity which should result in an expected increase in turnover of up to 3.8 per cent per worker per annum
  • Local authorities can realise direct benefits by being able to implement more innovative public service delivery whilst driving down costs, such as through increased cloud adoption.

 The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) has published new research to help local authorities understand the economic benefits that are available to them through the deployment of very high capacity networks such as full-fibre and 5G.

Local government is pivotal to the ability of telecoms operators to deploy the networks and infrastructure essential to the UK for both current and future connectivity needs. The telecoms sector is used to engaging with local authorities countrywide and as such understand their competing pressures and obligations. Local authorities’ cooperation in deploying our future communications networks is critical. This report seeks to complement the BSG’s previous research[2] into how to best engage with operators by setting out the positive benefits that the next generation of communication technologies will deliver.

Using the ONS categorisation of geographical areas across the UK,[3] local authorities can use this framework to understand the practical benefits that full-fibre and 5G can deliver in their specific area depending on their locality. The report, which draws on a comprehensive review of existing empirical studies and reports on the impact of full-fibre and 5G connectivity, examines the positive benefits that these very high capacity networks will deliver in the form of;

  • Benefits to existing businesses; the evidence shows that they could see a productivity increase of up to 3.8 per cent in turnover per worker per annum in some cases
  • New businesses; an estimated 3.2 per cent increase in the number of businesses operating in areas which have poor levels of coverage today
  • Increases in employment; a mix of safeguarded jobs or new employment of up to 1.7 per cent in some areas.
  • Private benefit to consumers; expected increase in consumer surplus for digital communications as they benefit from new services.
  • Benefits to local authorities; increased economic activity as well as direct benefits in improved public service delivery.
  • Wider society impact; harder to quantify but important improvements in areas such as inclusion.

These improvements will change depending on the make-up of the local area, driven by factors such as population density, sectoral composition, population density, baseline telecoms coverage, and take-up rates.

Matthew Evans, CEO of the BSG, said Industry is committed to delivering the Government’s aims of nationwide full-fibre by 2033 and 5G to the majority of the population by 2027.[4] These are ambitious timescales under the current policy and regulatory landscape and are intended to be delivered with minimal public funds. It is a strategic civil and digital infrastructure deployment. This upgrade of our national digital infrastructure will not happen without close engagement between Government and the private sector. We need sufficient capital, sufficient skills and the cooperation with every local authority in the country.

“Many reports already estimate the benefits that full-fibre and 5G can bring to the UK economy making the overall business case while ensuring that central government plays its role in facilitating this investment. But what does it mean for Manchester, Merthyr Tydfil or the Midlothian hills? Without knowing the answer to this question, it is understandable that there is a disparity amongst authorities in how they engage with and approach builders of digital infrastructure. This report seeks to address that gap.”  

Felipe Florez Duncan, Partner and Head of TMT, and Matt Shepherd, Principal and Infrastructure Planning lead at Oxera, said: “The roll-out of very high capacity networks such as 5G and full fibre broadband networks will have important impacts on consumers, businesses and local authorities.

However, the deployment of these networks will require discussions and action at local levels. This study sets out how those local impacts can be thought about and assessed. This will enable those interested in this subject to think about what these impacts will be in their local area and, importantly, to develop strategies to realise those benefits.”

This report establishes the framework against which we can measure the success of full-fibre and 5G deployments. Naturally, we will look to revisit the evidence base which fits into this framework as the roll-out continues. Whilst we have used international literature in the case of full-fibre, as a new technology, the evidence base for 5G is loosely based on the capacity and speed elements of the technology. As the evidence base for the applications of 5G involving low latency or as a driver of internet- of-things-based solutions expand, we would expect to see a further increase in benefits that it can bring to local areas.

You can find a copy of the summary report here. 

You can find a copy of the main report here. 

——————————————————–

[1] The Prime Minister’s constituency falls within the Borough of Hillingdon. Its business rate revenue is forecast to be £387,894 in 2018/19.

[2] http://www.broadbanduk.org/publications/publications/

[3] These areas are based on ONS statistics ranging from mainly rural to urban with major conurbation.

[4] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/future-telecoms-infrastructure-review

 

Planning reforms proposed to speed up 5G deployment

Government has launched a consultation on potentially amending permitted development rights for operators win order to extend mobile coverage and support 5G roll out. The joint consultation between DCMS and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will run until November 4th.

2017 saw Government agree reforms to the Electronic Communications Code with the intention of making it easier and cheaper for communications apparatus to be installed, maintained and upgraded, following commitments from mobile network operators to invest significantly and reach specific coverage targets. Further Government reforms to planning regulations have followed, aiming to support expanding mobile connectivity. (more…)

DCMS seeks views on transposing the European Electronic Communications Code

DCMS is consulting on its approach to implementing the key articles of the European Electronic Communications Code, which updates the regulatory framework governing the telecoms sector across the EU. The consultation document assumes a post-EU Exit implementation period until at least December 31st2020.

The revised Directive coming out of the EU intends to incentivise investment in very high-capacity broadband networks, support 5G rollout by promoting more efficient spectrum management, and protect and engage consumers. Internet phone and messaging services will be brought for the first time into scope of telecoms regulation.

The Government sets out three options for transposition of articles that potentially make substantive changes to access and investment incentives, radio spectrum, consumer protection and universal service obligations. These options include maintain the status quo, transposing the minimum requirements or adopting an alternative approach to transposition.

Throughout the consultation the Government seeks to ensure that the strategic goals set out in its FTIR remain consistent with regulatory changes from the transposition. The closing date is September 10th.

Ofcom finalizes universal service broadband plans

As of March 2020 homes and businesses will have the right to request a decent broadband service to their property (decent being defined as a connection offering speeds of at least 10Mbit/s download and 1Mbit/s upload). Ofcom has now announced that it will be BT and KCOM who will be designated as the universal service providers for that broadband connection.

Currently there are 620,000 homes and offices struggling to get a decent broadband service who would currently be in scope of this project.

From March 20th, those eligible will be able to start making requests for a connection to either BT (UK excluding Hull) and KCOM (Hull area). The providers, once eligibility is confirmed (which will include determining whether the property is due to be connected under another publicly-funded scheme within 12 months), must establish a connection as quickly as possible and cover the initial cost up to £3,400. Costs above this threshold must be paid for by the customer.

Ultrafast broadband reaches more of the UK

The recent update to Ofcom’s Connected Nations report – which provides information on coverage and service availability for both internet and mobile phones – reveals that ultrafast broadband speeds (defined as download speeds over 300Mbit/s) are now available to properties in just over half the country. Superfast speeds of at least 30Mbit/s have reached 95% of UK premises and full-fibre broadband has risen a percentage point to 7% coverage, or 300,000 additions in the four months since the last report.

(more…)

Ofcom publishes its 2019/2020 Work Plan

Ofcom has published its work plan for 2019/2020 laying out its priorities and projects for the coming financial year following consultation with the public and industry. The four main focus areas for Ofcom are:

* Better broadband – this will include the implementation of the broadband Universal Service Obligation and supporting investment in fibre though duct and pole access – and better mobile – through auctioning more spectrum to boost rural reception and preparing for 5G.

* Fairness for customers – to ensure the fairer treatment of customers with fairer and clearer pricing and more transparency around deals availability. Ofcom will also be increasing the budget for its Communications Consumer panel.

* Supporting UK broadcasting – Ofcom will look to support regional TV productions and review the BBC’s news and current affairs programming and commercial activities as well as ensure that public service channels remain easily locatable in the face of technology developments.

* Online harms – reflecting the growing concerns around protecting people online and to ensure that audiences understand better the online world, Ofcom will carry out more work around media literacy and research into specific harms to include awareness raising.

Ofcom has updated its plan following the Government’s publication of its draft Statement of Strategic Priorities covering telecoms, spectrum and the postal service to reflect the priorities that were set by DCMS.

Whilst there are few surprises in the specific projects proposed for the year, with many ongoing and rolling over from last year, the first quarter should see Statements on the Broadband USO, the completion of the assessment for both the Business Connectivity Market Review and the Physical Infrastructure market review with the expected introduction of an unrestricted duct and pole access remedy.

Ofcom also references the work it is undertaking around Brexit and European legislation and how international cooperation with other bodies is expected to continue.

National Infrastructure Commission seeks views on future of regulation

The National Infrastructure is looking for opinions on the regulation of the energy, water and telecoms sector – both current and future changes that may impact on and affect these industries. The call for evidence just published will support the regulation study that the NIC has undertaken at the behest of the Government in October 2018. (more…)

Government sets out Strategic Communications Priorities

The Government is looking for opinions on its draft Statement of Strategic Priorities (SSP) for telecommunications, radio spectrum and post – the first if its kind following its new power granted by the Digital Economy Act 2017. Once the SSP is formally designated, telecoms will be brought more into line with the other utility sectors, and Ofcom obliged to have regard to the Statement. (more…)

No Deal Brexit opens the door to roaming rates return

The Government yesterday laid out its proposals for the future of mobile roaming in Europe should the UK leave the EU without a deal in place. As previously set out in the technical notice published in September 2018, should an implementation period be agreed, the current rules governing using a mobile phone in Europe will remain in effect until the end of 2020 and thereafter would depend on the terms agreed in the Future Economic Partnership. (more…)

Children and media: usage and attitudes

Ofcom has published a report on the media use, access, attitudes and understanding amongst children aged 3 – 15, and how parents manage this usage. The report revealed that whilst TV sets and tablets were used the most, TV viewing on a TV set is steadily declining, with consuming content becoming a more solitary activity and mobile viewing becoming increasingly popular. The reduction in TV viewing has been replaced for 3-4 year olds by spending an additional hour online, or gaming for 12-15s. (more…)