Following the broadband money

Vested interest, red tape snatch defeat from UK broadband victory

with 5 comments

Britain has enough money to build the best broadband in Europe, but vested interests and red tape are stopping progress.

That’s the conclusion drawn by Eurim, a policy think tank, following hearings to find synergies between the nation’s broadband and smart metering network programmes.

A report on the meeting published yesterday said the money needed to build the energy companies’ smart grid ranged between £1bn and £4.5bn, a sum that “dwarfed” the £530m given to BDUK to ensure that “the final third” of UK residents will get high speed broadband.

These sums did not take into account potential savings from pooling spend on public service networks, sharing existing infrastructures and mixing technologies and business models according to local needs, provided the barriers are removed, Eurim said.

“UK targets for 2015 (minimum 2Mbps for 90% of homes) are modest compared to what could be achieved if currently agreed public funding and that available from industry were joined up, regulatory and planning obstacles removed, and 4G spectrum made available at the same time as the rest of Europe,” Eurim said.

The availability of broadband was already a standard solicitor’s question for domestic property transactions, it said. Lack of access to high speed broadband could wipe hundreds of thousands of pounds off the value of commercial properties. This helped make it the top priority for the economic development teams of many councils.

Eurim said the obstacles to joining up the smart grid and broadband networks were mainly regulatory and legal and to do with conflicting business interests and models rather than underlying technology.

“The more dynamic the market (with genuine competition between varied and evolving service offerings) the (more) important the need for ‘open’ standards to enable inter-operability and choice,” it said.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2011/11/03 at 08:00

5 Responses

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  1. What we need is some joined up thinking, but if it happened it would be a first. We live in hope. The obstacle apart from conflicting business interests is the fact that some of the business models are run on obsolete assets and technology, and the incumbents are slowly killing their golden geese in the quest for golden eggs.

    Chris Conder

    2011/11/03 at 08:16

  2. Am I having a bad dream or am I just very confused? The occurrence of ‘2mb everywhere’ (as seen in Ian’s para 5) is increasingly dropping from the lips of those above us. Now Ian is quoting ‘90% of homes at 2mb’. We appear to be being sleepwalked into this – the ‘Hasn’t Jeremy Hunt (replace as appropriate) done well’ press release for 2015. Whatever happened to ‘2mb everywhere’ and ‘superfast broadband for the UK by 2015 blah blah blah’? It reminds me of the old joke ‘How do you know a politician is lying’ – ‘His lips are moving’.

    When are the public going to be woken up to the mess? Do I assume the ‘fudge’ is being slowly dripped onto us (excuse mixed metaphors) and that perhaps the opportunity will be the collapse of Greek Eurozone membership to ‘release bad news’? Is the ‘2mb for 90%’ being driven by BT who will be lucky to achieve that in all probability and that Broadband Delay UK is reacting appropriately?.

    mike phillips

    2011/11/03 at 09:51

    • people are slack and drift between topics and mix them up – the 90% is “superfast”.

      The “Universal” 2M is currently available by satellite or 3G practically everywhere and I think the perceived kudos is in getting the majority a faster service rather than helping out the sub 2M or notspot people who have been in that predicament for 8 years.


      2011/11/13 at 10:57

      • “people are slack and drift between topics and mix them up – the 90% is “superfast”

        This is significant, PhilT – you are saying that Eurim is wrong in their report of 3/11/11?.Have you told them, or has Ian G got it wrong?

        mike phillips

        2011/11/13 at 15:42

  3. So, PhilT has yet to confirm that.

    In the meantime the latest BT ‘rural initiative’ (superfast-openreach) appears to be softening the rural folk up for a BET enabled solution, now promising ‘up to 2mb’ – a far cry from Jeremy Hunt’s blistering new dawn, I fear. Adding the dropping out of yet another major networker, Geo, from ‘the game’ brings no sense of relief either.

    Now that I hear Adrian Wooster may have been ‘recruited’ by BDUK I find myself wondering on which side of the fence he will be sitting? We have, no doubt, seen the last of his hard-hitting blogs.

    mike phillips

    2011/11/17 at 10:12

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