Feeds

Ofcom urges government restraint on new broadband

'Hands off!'

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The public sector should take a minor role investing in high bandwidth broadband capacity, according to a senior Ofcom official.

Peter Phillips, partner for strategy and market developments at the communications regulator, said public investment should be "targeted at areas left behind by the markets".

Speaking at a Westminster eForum conference, Next Generation Broadband, on 6 November 2008, Phillips said that Ofcom believes the private sector should play the leading role in providing the infrastructure for broadband connections of 25-30Mbps. This largely reflects Ofcom's belief in the primacy of private investment, but also that the difficult economic outlook weakens the case for public intervention.

He acknowledged, however, that some areas may prove relatively unattractive for private investment, and that there is more scope for the public sector to get involved in the few areas that do not have broadband coverage.

"The public sector should consider action to implement private investment but not crowd it out," he said.

Phillips added that at this stage it is difficult to predict the limits of private investment. He pointed out that before its implementation there were estimates that the existing broadband network would reach just 60-70 per cent of the country, but it has achieved a much higher level of penetration.

Conference chair Nick Palmer MP said the private sector is more likely to step up its investment if the benefits of high bandwidth services quickly become apparent and prompt a surge in public demand.

The UK's existing broadband network has been installed almost entirely by the private sector, although there have been some government initiatives to make it available in rural areas. The Public Sector Broadband Aggregation programme provided the impetus for rolling out the infrastructure in parts of Wales, and in North Yorkshire the county council and Yorkshire's regional development agency are providing extra capacity on their own network for internet service providers.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.