Ofcom urges government restraint on new broadband
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.
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IMO, almost all of the UK's population is highly dense.
What I can't figure out is why OFCOM should have a 'philosophy' about government investment. Surely that's the role of, ooooh i don't know, the GOVERNMENT? OFCOM should be limited to reporting facts and trends in order to inform investment decisions rather than telling el Gordo whether to leave this to the invisible hand of the market and the invisible handshakes of the Friedmanites and Chicago Boys.
It can't be long until the Office for Social Training and Political Orientation (OFSTAPO) becomes known to all...
That means even more high density targets as, of course, high population density areas mean lots of customers, but hey?
What about low population density areas?
Thanks for this - I'm by no means new to the forum, but have not had the pleasure of reading amanfromMars's stream of consciousness material that brings novel constructions to the English language. I will bear this in mind in future and treat his stuff the same way as some of James Joyce's rather less structured prose.