UK slipping behind in broadband race, warns CMA

The Communication Management Association Conference 2005 kicked off today with a call for the UK government to push forward...

The Communication Management Association Conference 2005 kicked off today with a call for the UK government to push forward broadband.

Unless broadband was pervasive, UK business could lose out, particularly in terms of innovative services that would be developed in Asia-Pacific, the CMA said.

CMA chairman Phil Sayer called for the DTI to take a lead to deliver services to every home in the UK within two years.

But even if the CMA's broadband roll-out target is achieved, costs could prove a barrier, preventing wider usage.

Sayer said CMA members had a number of concerns relating to broadband uptake.

"People are worried about policing the costs of 2.5G and 3G data services," he said, adding that users were also concerned about the viability of telco providers.

Ewan Sutherland, executive director International Telecommunications User Group, said Europe was falling behind the cutting-edge telco services offered in Korea, Japan and China.

The main barrier to progress, according to Sutherland, was the nature of European regulation and lack of competition.

"Mobile data costs are a nightmare," he said. "Vodafone in Australia, for example, offers a flat broadband data tariff [no limit on usage] of £21 per month. You cannot get this rate from Vodafone anywhere else in the world."

Sutherland warned that the lack of adoption among users would pose a major threat to UK business looking to make the most from mobile and broadband services.

"There are 11 million broadband lines in Korea," he said. "The logical place to develop a new service is in Korea."

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