Following the broadband money

HoL broadband report sparks industry revolt

with 10 comments

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 It will be fleshed out in the coming weeks.


Written by Br0kenTeleph0n3

2012/08/02 at 15:03

10 Responses

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  1. The peasants revolution is gaining some support at last from some meaty players. Great stuff. Bring IT on and lets get some fibre, moral and optic out there. Its time to move into the digital future and stop trying to protect an obsolete copper phone network. Kudos to the Lords and Ladies for waking up the sleeping giants. Lets hope they do more than scratch, yawn and pontificate, and get some parish hubs out there for altnets to build networks from. There are people and businesses just ready and waiting for some support. Enable the people to help themselves.
    BTW we need a smart grid for a smart city.


    2012/08/02 at 15:09

  2. Yes lets hope the Government abandons the current system, and spends another 2 years starting a new procurrement process to award the contract for building the community hubs. Then start building the network and then in 2016 altnets might be able to use the dark fibre, and pay the tax that arises from lighting the fibre, and buy the termination kit, and arrange their peering or buying transit. Simplez.

    First thing that needs to happen is decide how small a community gets a fibre hub, something missing in the HoL? Believe there are around 4500 civil parishes covering 35% of UK population, which are most likely the most rural.

    4,500 community fibre hubs is not a very dense solution, leaving the problem of who pays for the fibre laying from hub to the property? Now of course some areas will #jfdi things, but this creates a divide in areas where population density is too low, or too high (i.e. falls over at wayleave time)

    Andrew Ferguson

    2012/08/02 at 15:19

    • Ah yes, the real world Andrew. Depressing isn’t it?


      2012/08/02 at 21:50

      • Not depressing at all, just a challange and if we truly want 101% coverage. Which is the better target in project planning, i.e. overlap options then lots or realist decisions need to be taken.

        Mini fibre islands carry a real risk of gaps where a house or two fall into the gap inbetween.

        Andrew Ferguson

        2012/08/03 at 09:43

  3. […] 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 […]

  4. EURIM Corporate Members

    Alcatel-Lucent Telecom
    Atkins Management Consultants
    BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
    British Telecommunications (BT)
    Cisco Systems
    De La Rue
    Everything Everywhere
    Gridline Communications
    IBM UK
    Research in Motion UK (RIM)
    Royal Mail
    SAS Institute
    Symantec UK
    Trend Micro
    Wave Systems Corporation


    2012/08/02 at 22:27

    • Somerset

      2012/08/02 at 22:52

    • Thanks for that, Peter. I suspect there may be little common ground between those firms, so Ed is going to live in interesting times.

      Ian Grant

      2012/08/02 at 22:54

      • For a group that says it is not a lobby group, it looks very like one to me.

        At end of the day, the householder cares little how the connection gets to them it is just (a) price (b) xbox work (c) iplayer HD works

        Andrew Ferguson

        2012/08/03 at 09:45

      • Andrew – The DPA says explicitly it is there to offer advice and expertise on policy matters to government and civil servants. Of course it’s a lobby group, but has a voluntary membership and a broad agenda rather than a single issue onwhich to focus, unlike most lobbyists. Moreover, the range of opinions reflected by the members suggests there might be conflicting views. That is why, if they can find a consensus, policy-makers would do well to take it seriously. It’s true today that householders don’t care much how they are connected. But that’s less and less the case when there are more and more simultaneously connected screens in the house. Ofcom’s communications market report shows an average of around three devices, with up to 10. Then consider how many people spend at least some of their days working from home or small offices that can’t make a business case for their own leased line. or can’t see the point when they expect to get a decent broadband connection off their High Street.

        Ian Grant

        2012/08/03 at 10:02

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