DPA makes a cautious start to industry revolt on Broadband Britain
Edward Phelps, secretary general of the new Digital Policy Alliance, gives his first on the record interview following the DPA’s formation in the wake of the House of Lords report that condemned the government’s broadband plan for lacking a strategy.
The government has said the BDUK process will go ahead. Isn’t the DPA initiative too late to affect the contract awards and disbursements that are now pending?
Phelps: The DPA will continue to ensure decision makers are made aware of the problems and possible solutions. Broadband solutions will remain critical long after BDUK money is spent. Currently few MPs or local authority decision makers understand the issues involved, if they did they would probably be more likely to put pressure on government to support innovative solutions.
What can the DPA say and do that will persuade the government to adopt HoL report recommendations such as dark fibre, commercially realistic open access, and community hubs?
The DPA does not necessarily support all of the HoL report recommendations but will be working on a set of recommendations to government based on industry consensus.
How can the DPA persuade Ofcom to change its apparently tolerant treatment of BT on matters such as PIA?
DPA will not advocate one technology or the business model of any one company. But we can increase awareness of the possible solutions and ask questions as to why they are not being used as a means of putting pressure on agencies such as Ofcom.
How can the DPA speed up regulatory processes such as the LLU costs issue now before the Competition Commission?
If this is a particular issue that our working group feels we should address we will ensure the relevant people and organisations are briefed accordingly and put pressure on the government.
Will the DPA take on issues such as the “fibre tax”, which leads to price distortions in the market, not least in comparison with Europe (except Ireland)?
This will be an issue for the working group to decide in the coming months.