HoL broadband report sparks industry revolt
The government’s failure to open up the market to innovative competitive solutions to providing easily accessible, affordable high speed broadband has prompted the formation of a new lobbying group, the Digital Policy Alliance, in the wake of concerns raised by peers on Tuesday.
Formerly known as Eurim, the DPA provides neutral ground where leading firms including Google, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco can discuss issues of national interest with politicians, civil servants, regulators, customers and NGOs.
The new alliance says it will press for more action from government on issues of technology uptake and broadband, which it says are essential for kick-starting the economy, as well as improving services like schools and hospitals, the DPA said in a statement.
“Industry has expressed anger that the government’s broadband strategy has failed,” it said. It is now working to provide expert solutions to broadband roll-out through the sharing of existing local authority infrastructure.
It is likely it will include attempts by the Conservative Technology Forum to enlist the energy industry’s attention via the estimated £4bn network needed to implement the national smart meter project that will see a communication link into every home and office building in the country by 2017.
Lord Erroll, a peer with a lifetime’s experience in the technology sector will chair the group. He will be helped by former Downing Street advisor Sean Worth, with former Eurim director Edward Phelps becoming secretary general.
Phelps said, “Government urgently needs to review its strategy for broadband roll-out. Government has failed to inject competition into the broadband market, leaving many innovative providers unable to offer their services. The current approach would appear completely at odds with the localism agenda.”
Separately, would-be bidders who have so far been frozen out of the BDUK broadband procurement framework are discussing how to cooperate to mount a challenge to BT for county council broadband projects.
The DPA’s new website is www.dpalliance.org.uk. It will be fleshed out in the coming weeks.