Ofcom begins first UK communications census

The first census of the UK's communications infrastructure is about to begin.

The first census of the UK's communications infrastructure is about to begin, communications regulator Ofcom said on Monday (March 7).

Ofcom is to ask communications services providers what services and capabilities their networks offer as part of an on-going assessment of the national communications infrastructure.

The first report will focus on voice and data services provided to the general public, and the networks that support them. Ofcom will also report on digital television and radio services and networks.

For the moment, the study will ignore large private networks such as the emergency services' Airwave and private corporate networks. Ofcom "thought that the capacity and coverage of these networks were already negotiated on a commercial basis and designed to serve a particular customer need. Additionally the competitiveness of many of these services has been reviewed previously in the Business Connectivity Market Review".

The consultation, published on Monday, revealed a list of things Ofcom wants to know about (see table). The consultation is a sequel to part of the controversial Digital Economy Act which required Ofcom to report to the government every three years on the state of the UK's communications infrastructure.

Ofcom invited industry comment last July, and has now set out its plans. It said it will report to media secretary Jeremy Hunt on 7 August.

Recurring networks and services    
Services Networks Technologies
Fixed Voice Twisted copper pair Cable (HFC) PSTN Voice ADSL/ADSL2+ , DOCSIS
Fixed Broadband    
Mobile voice 2G 3G GSM, GPRS, EDGE, W-CDMA/UMTS-FDD, HSPA
Mobile broadband    
Television broadcast Terrestrial/DTT Satellite Cable (HFC) DVB-T and T2 DVB-Sand S2 DVB-C
Radio broadcast National digital radio DAB
Priority areas for 2011 report    
Topic Network/Technologies  
Mobile coverage 2G, 3G  
Broadband service speed Twisted copper pair Cable (HFC) 3G  
Emerging technology for 2011 report    
Topic Network/Technologies  
Fixed and mobile next generation access networks Copper delivered (e.g. FTTC/VDSL) Fibre delivered (e.g. FTTP) Cable delivered (DOCSIS 3) Mobile delivered (e.g. LTE)  
Wi-Fi 'hot spot' access IPTV    
Source: Ofcom

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