The future for UK telecoms after Marconi is broadband
by EW speaks to David Cleevely
Monday 4 September 2006
Q) What technologies do you believe the Communications Research Network should be looking at in the next few years?
A) There are three main areas that the we should be looking at. Firstly, the use of radio spectrum. We are about to see a proliferation of technology, delivering capability to use radio spectrum more efficiently and effectively and at much lower cost. This has implications not only for the manufacture of equipment but also for the services and applications that this will enable and for the regulatory and economic challenges. Secondly, photonics. I think we are only at the beginning of the photonics revolution. In Communications, there is a huge opportunity for integrating, processing and the transmission of information – as well as providing very high levels of security. Finally, interconnection - in a broad sense including self organising networks, the behaviour of complex systems, and their vulnerabilities. Understanding this last topic will be very important for our ability to gain the greatest value from the first two. We should always remember however that while the technologies will enable us to do things, it’s the services and applications that users actually want, and the CRN is going to spend a significant portion of its’ resources looking at these services and applications.
Q) Did BT hold back the development of a broadband Britain?
A) Britain now has almost as many broadband connections per head as the US, and more than many other countries within the European Union. BT has recognised the importance of broadband and operates in an extremely competitive broadband provider market. My concern is not with history, but with what we do in the future. For this, our models must be the countries like Korea and Japan, where innovative broadband services and applications are helping drive significant investment.