Feeds

UK.gov told not to subsidise superfast broadband

No pork for you, fatty

Boost IT visibility and business value

Francesco Caio, the former top cable and Wireless beancounter tasked by the government with an economic analysis of next generation internet deployment in the UK, has come out against subsidies for fibre.

In his widely-trailed report for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, released today, Caio said the case for taxpayer-funded fibre is "weak". A report by the Broadband Stakeholder Group on Monday said a national point-to-point fibre network could cost as much as £28.8bn.

Caio said today that broadband speeds are increasing and the current peak time slowdown experienced by consumers was evidence of a bottleneck in the backhaul, not caused by the aged copper last mile. Virgin Media's imminent 50Mbit/s DOCSIS 3 upgrade and BT's recently announced £1.5bn fibre deployment were causes to believe market forces are delivering investment in broadband.

The analysis cautioned against Whitehall and Ofcom complacency, however. Caio wrote: "In the mid to long term, Broadband/NGA will become a critical digital utility, essential to the competitiveness of any country and to the quality of life of its citizens. The UK will be no exception and, if anything, it will be even more dependent on this infrastructure than other economies."

The report recommends that investment should be encouraged by an array of initiatives, including establishing standards so local groups can press ahaead with their own deployments. The UK's internet infrastructure should be benchmarked every year against competitor nations, Caio recommends, and authorities should coordinate streetworks to help reduce civil engineering costs.

It's estimated that digging up roads would account for up to 80 per cent of the expense of laying a fibre network. Sharing ducts with other utilites could significantly cut that. Cisco also provided Caio with figures showing that by relaxing the rules on new overhead cabling, the cost of fibre to the premises could be slashed from £1,200 to £400 per home.

Ofcom, he said, needs to take the lead in detailing the specifics of how and when such changes will be implemented.

The government said it will respond to the report "in due course". The full document is here (pdf). ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.