Nothing less than the future of the British economy hangs on communications minister Lord Stephen Carter’s view of what telecommunications network the UK needs. Or so say some.
The attitude of most businesses was summed up by the Communications Managers Association. It told the government, “Business users are not so much concerned about the operational and networking complexity required to deliver the seamless connectivity they require as they are about the quality, affordability and choice of applications and services.”
It said businesses increasing difficulties obtaining seamless, cross-border connectivity because of the increasingly fragmented technology, standards and supplier landscape.
But for communications equipment suppliers, recabling the nation to give each household an optical fibre connection to super-fast national broadband networks looks like a god-send. Not only would it boost their income by some £28bn, it would require most people to upgrade their home PCs, phone sets and television sets. This would add many more billions to the national gross domestic product.
Other voices have suggested building the broadband highways would create tens of thousands of jobs in construction, in selling and fitting the new equipment, and in the “creative industries”, notably broadcasting, film and music.
Carter aims to balance these competing views against the government’s own agenda and resources.
Opinions on the interim report, published 30 January 2008
- Philip Virgo, IT / politics blogger: Two cheers for Santa Carter's work in progress
- Steve Broadhead, networks blogger: First impressions of the new Digital Britain
Here you will find background to the debate so that you can form your own views.
- Digital Britain Terms of Reference
- Communications minister Stephen Carter’s speech to the Westminster Media Forum, 28 November 2008
- Digital Britain background
- Convergence Think Tank
- Westminster Media forum
- Westminster eForum
Vtesse submissions to Caio:
- Briefing paper on Business Rates on optical fibre for Francesco Caio ARP, 13th June 2008
This chart for the 2000 list shows the rate paid per “lit” i.e. working fibre. As the chart shows, the more fibres that are lit, the less the network operator pays per fibre. This massively discourages the entry of smaller operators and their customers, who must pay a relatively higher unit cost to use optical fibre links. What it can’t show is BT’s special treatment by the valuation authorities, whereby BT’s valuation rate for lit fibre is bundled into a single overall fee paid on all BT buildings, cables and other infrastructure.