Thursday, June 18, 2009

Digital Britain? Copper Cage, Open Networks | Business needs ignored in Digital Britain report | Author:Ian Grant | Posted: 12:38 18 Jun 2009


Carolyn Kimber, chairman of the Communication Managers' Association, whose members spend £15bn/y on communications, wants a new Communications Act that balances better the interests of businesses and consumers. She said, "The CMA would have preferred to see an unequivocal commitment to carrier-neutral, open access networks as part of a revised universal access obligation."

The report preserved the "stranglehold" that BT and Virgin Media have over core networks, said Chris Smedley, chief executive of Geo, a private fibre network operator.

"Digital Britain (has) condemned the UK to an extended 'copper age'," he said. "It was meant to provide a framework to upgrade and modernise the UK's digital networks, but instead leaves us still dependent on antiquated copper networks for broadband."


Countries studied by the Broadband Stakeholder Group, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Finland, were planning to install fibre to 75% to 100% of homes, which would give residents 100Mbps. South Korea was planning to introduce a 1Gbps service soon.


Government intervention in superfast broadband around the world

Australia: A$43bn project to deliver fibre to the home (FTTH, capable of 100Mbps) to 90% of homes; 12Mbps to the remaining 10%. Public to own at least 51% of the project. Minimum A$2,750 (£1,350) per household, depending on public sector share of investment.

New Zealand: NZ$1.5bn of public money to be used alongside private investment to deliver FTTH to 75% of homes. NZ$1,000 (£390) per household.

Singapore: $0.75bn of public funds available to deliver FTTH to 100% of homes. $715 (£450) per household.

Finland: By end of 2015, 99% of homes will be within 2km of a fibre connection. 95% of homes will be served by the market. The remaining 5% will be two-thirds funded by public investment of €133m. €55 (£47) per household (additional investment required to connect homes to fibre infrastructure).

Greece: €0.7bn of public investment, with a further €1.4bn of private investment, to deliver FTTH to 2m homes. €192 (£160) per household.

USA: Stimulus package includes $7.2bn for broadband projects, some which is to stimulate investment in superfast broadband, although most is to expand current broadband services. $63 (£40) per household.

UK: Final Third Fund to raise £1bn over seven years to bring superfast broadband to every home. £6 per household per year; £42 per household over seven years

Source: Broadband Stakeholders' Group

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