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Ofcom Approves "Super-fast broadband in the UK"

Gordon Kelly


Ofcom Approves "Super-fast broadband in the UK"

After the damp squib that was the Digital Britain Interim report it's nice to see Ofcom today turn the dial up to 11...

The country's independent communications and competition regular has announced its plans to begin the rollout of 'super-fast broadband' saying it "marks one of the most fundamental changes to the UK's telecoms networks."

Encouragingly, unlike the horrendous Digital Britain Interim report (which discussed 2Mbit base coverage by 2012!), Ofcom sees 'super-fast broadband' as 40Mbit+ and has outlined key five points to achieve this:

  • allow wholesale pricing flexibility to enable returns appropriate to the considerable risks of building new networks, but constrained by the market in the interests of customers;

  • ensure that any regulatory pricing allows investors the opportunity to earn a rate of return that genuinely reflects the cost of deployment and the associated level of risk;

  • minimise unnecessary inefficiencies in network design and build as a result of regulatory policies, while continuing to protect the consumer interest;

  • support the use of new, more flexible wholesale services by BT to offer super-fast services to other service providers and consumers at competitive prices; and

  • safeguard the opportunity for further competition based on physical infrastructure, by facilitating fair opportunities for companies to synchronise their investments with BT's deployments, should reasonable demand arise, and encouraging network design that takes future potential competition into account.
Given the ruling BT is now expected to push on at full speed to deliver next generation broadband services nationwide by 2010. If it meets these targets up to 40 per cent of the UK will have access to 40Mbit connection speeds.

Of course the very nature of a fixed line broadband will come increasingly under threat with the arrival of LTE but with both set to wage war over the next few years there is certainty about one winner: us.


Ofcom Release - One Page Summary

Ofcome Full 91 Page Report (PDF Warning)


March 3, 2009, 8:39 pm

You're missing a significant "w" in your link to wikipedia - should be /wiki/, not /iki/


March 3, 2009, 8:53 pm

Thanks mkaibear - link fixed.


March 3, 2009, 9:11 pm

I have a theory that, if the telcos laid fibre to a village or town in the sticks which only gets 0.5-2mbps speed internet (on a good day) they'd have a higher percentage of people taking up the service, than if they did it in inner city areas where you can already get 24mbps+ speeds.


March 3, 2009, 9:24 pm

BT should 'push on' and give the millions like me stuck with a crappy 0.5mbps something faster rather than give those with already quick speed even faster.


March 3, 2009, 9:38 pm

@Garfee Coming from a small town in Lincolnshire myself i would agree. My parents there get a 2MB line which is the max. The right telco laying some cable would clean up if they offered higher speeds than that.


March 3, 2009, 10:07 pm

@basicasic I feel for you. Have you tried 02's "broadband access" product?

@Gordon - Maybe 2mbps base coverage isn't such a bad thing after all!


March 3, 2009, 10:08 pm

Further to what I said last week ref &#8220Virgin Upgrades 2Mbit Cable Customers to 10Mbit&#8221:

&#8220One way to improve this would be for BT (and other telcos who want access to Virgins fibre optic network) to say to the regulator(s)that why should they be obliged to allow other telcos to use their network while Virgin with even better and more modern network doesn't have to. After all both are private companies and it is decades since BT was privatised. Let the games begin and prices fall!&#8221

On second thoughts BT may not want to let go of its telco customers given that it presently has a 'monopoly' by proxy and so it may be more of interest actually for Virgin to bring over the non-BT telcos?! Presently, BT has its telco customers bringing the customers onto its network. As things stand Virgin is competing against the combined marketing onslaught of BT and its telco customers. What is clear indy telcos and the consumer will benefit. After all Sky (and other's programmes) are broadcast on Virgin and vice versa.

Given this actually Sky (and Virgin?) may have missed a trick. They both clearly saw benefits in re-instating this arrangement despite Virgin costing Sky &#163millions by it reporting Sky's share in ITV to the competition regulators.

So while it may not be in the interests of BT it may be in the interests of Virgin, and certainly so for the indy telcos, for access to Virgin's network.

Energizer Bunny

March 3, 2009, 10:35 pm

I do hope BT has the good sence to provide this service to the 50% of the country that is outside of Virgin's fibre optic network. No point in trying to plumb the same product to an already saturated user base when you've got half the country stuck on slug speed.

For those complaining about inner city areas getting the best service, I live in central London and can get up to about 1.5meg. Woo.


March 3, 2009, 10:55 pm

@ Enigma:

I would definitely go with that option where indie telcos get access to Virgin's network! At present, such companies are offering better deals for ADSL users on BT's infrastructure, and us poor folk on Virgin's network don't have the option. I live far outside the magical exchange mile, and as such nobody can offer me more than a 2-meg ADSL connection. Virgin therefore has the monopoly on more-than-2meg connnections in my area, and their advertised/sold speeds versus real-life as tested on every tester imaginable are quite frankly nauseating.. I would welcome that option with open arms!

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