Opinion, Analysis and Comment

In this section, key industry contacts discuss a series of topical issues around next generation broadband access. All articles represent the personal thoughts of the authors rather than the formal views of any specific organisation.

More fibre in the diet keeps businesses going?

If there has been any early benefit for business users from the UK Government’s launch of the Digital Britain paper in 2009, it has been the apparently stimulating effect it has had on the enthusiasm of carriers for providing services over fibre.  For some of the larger players, BT in particular, this has been more like a Frankenstein lightning bolt than a gentle prod.  Where once established networking companies talked of ‘providing high speed broadband if there is sufficient demand’, there are now more blanket coverage statements.

A Quality Cloud System for Independent Networks

Government and industry estimate that commercial roll-out of next generation access (NGA) will cover about two thirds of the population (Digital Britain Report, Britain's Superfast Broadband Future).

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) has been set up to help local authorities fund the capital costs of schemes to cover the remaining third with an expectation that a variety of non-incumbent projects will cover between 10% and a third of the population, mainly in rural areas.  BDUK will invest £530 Million.

Digital Britain – where are we today?

We have a number of initiatives that seek to target areas of market failure in next generation broadband. While some limited funding is available through, for example, BDUK and various European funds, it is too soon to tell whether this funding is sufficient to address the challenge of ensuring that next generation broadband gets rolled out across the country. Whatever investment takes place the policy test should realistically be: is public sector investment future proofed.

Fibre rates – is it time to repeal the 21st Century Window tax?

Why would anyone tax windows? Well it seemed like a good idea to some in late 17th century England and in both 18th century Scotland and France, as it was thought to be less intrusive than income tax but would still scale progressively according to property assets. The more windows you have over a base number, the more light enters your house, the more you pay. Although it was easy to assess, it was intensely unpopular and controversial, causing windows to be blocked up and is probably the origin of the phrase, “daylight robbery”.

Funding NGA: A European Perspective

A central plank of the European Digital Agenda launched last year is the objective – agreed by all 27 Member States – that every EU citizen should have access to 30MB broadband, and 50% of citizens should have access to 100MB, by 2020. This is in recognition that access to Next Generation Networks will be the crucial enabling infrastructure for Member States wishing to both improve their competitiveness and to improve the quality of life of their citizens.