Gov't seeks to boost UK broadband networks

Gov't seeks to boost UK broadband networks

Summary: An independent review has been launched into barriers preventing the rollout of high-speed, next-generation broadband networks in the UK

TOPICS: Networking

The government has launched an independent review on barriers to rolling out high-speed, next-generation broadband networks in the UK which it says are essential for the future economic success of the country. It is also looking at around fibre.

Business and competitiveness minister, Shriti Vadera, said the UK's communications infrastructure must be able to respond to future technology development. "We must not be in a situation where our creativity and [the] growth of our businesses are stifled by inadequate communications and regulatory frameworks," she said in a statement.

Areas the review will consider include whether the public sector has a role to play to help minimise the cost of investment to the private sector; whether Ofcom has adequate powers of regulation around high-speed access; and possible barriers to collaborative models of investment involving telecommunications suppliers, content providers and others.

The government has also asked industry-lobbying association the Broadband Stakeholders Group to look at the economics of fibre deployment; specifically whether laying fibre to the home is viable without first deploying fibre to the cabinet.

Tiscali chief executive, Mary Turner, recently told's siter site,, that fibre to the cabinet — or "backhaul" — needs to be "commercialised", as BT is not obliged by Ofcom to resell it.

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Turner said: "The bandwidth is there, it needs to be commercialised so that we can afford to actually buy that and resell it at an affordable price to the consumer. And that's the argument and it is a point that we have made to Ofcom. And we are having those discussions with Ofcom on a regular basis because we have to, because the discussion has moved on to fibre to the curb."

The government said the review, which will be led by Francesco Caio, vice chairman of investment bank Lehman Brothers, is intended to complement Ofcom's review on next-generation access. It will report in the autumn to the secretary of state for business, enterprise and regulatory reform, and the chancellor of the exchequer.

Vadera added in a statement: "The way we will do business [and] access many government services, as well as information and entertainment, will change beyond recognition over our lifetime. New technologies will push the boundaries of today's communications infrastructure.

"We must be ready to respond to future technological developments, which will place unprecedented challenges for our communications networks over the coming decade."

Topic: Networking

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  • The other network

    The government and the regulator seem to only consider the BT network when discussing and implementing regulatory schemes for the provision and compulsory commercialisation for the benefit of resellers.
    We are now at the stage where the cable company fibre network should be included with the BT network for (what a horrible word) commercialisation.
    It is technically as possible for a cable last mile to be unbundled as for BT. If there is argument against this on the grounds of technical difficulty then the same argument may be said to apply as and when the BT last mile is converted to fibre and the copper removed.
    Apart from the danger of creating a mindless monopoly, there seems to be a lot to be said for the creation of a company to take over ALL physical networks and sell access to providers, be they TV or broadband or whatever.
    Shares in such a company would continue to be owned proportionally as currently held.
    Takes thinking about!!