'

Microsoft calls on government to act on broadband

While the government has a social responsibility to get high-speed access to citizens, Microsoft will not blame BT for slow rollout in the UK

Microsoft has called on the government to do more to push broadband services in the UK but refuses to blame individual telcos.

Despite claiming to be hungry for bandwidth, Microsoft officials in the UK will not point the finger of blame at telcos, claiming that in current market conditions, broadband is a huge gamble for any company.

"One of the biggest challenges is the business case," said Microsofts network service provider manager Bruce Lynn. "It takes a really huge investment to roll out the infrastructure and the returns have not clearly been identified. It is challenging at the best of times but in the current climate money is finite and you have got to make choices."

However the software giant does believe that the government has got to put resources into the high-speed technology. "It is very clear that broadband has non-financial benefits and government needs to be the leader on that," Lynn said. "It needs social resources to make it happen and the government has to look at that."

While operators and ISPs have identified BT as the bottleneck to broadband rollout in the UK due to the cost of both consumer and wholesale ADSL, Lynn believes it would be wrong to blame one company. "To pinpoint one company as the fall guy would be erroneous," he said.

Microsoft's impatience for bandwidth would still not be satiated, he suggested. "Bandwidth has replaced processing power for the growth of the software industry. If the telcos offered double the speeds tomorrow we would probably still want to double that again."

Is broadband coming to your neighbourhood? Find out the latest in ZDNet UK's Broadband News Section.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Click on the TalkBack button and go to the Telecoms forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom. And read other letters.