Feeds

UK to rely on mobile operators for universal broadband

2Mbit/s with 'a bit of wiggle room'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Digital Britain The government will turn to mobile operators to deliver the commitment made by Lord Carter today that every home in the UK should be able to get 2Mbit/s broadband by 2012.

The interim Digital Britain report, published today, is short on specifics of how a new Universal Service Commitment (USC) will function, and defers decisions on the details. "We will develop detailed proposals for the design and operation of a new, more broadly-based scheme to fund the Universal Service Commitment for the fully digital age – including who should contribute and its governance and accountability structures," it says.

It is clear that nobody going to be digging up roads to lay fibre in the Highlands however, and that the USC will be "delivered by a mixture of fixed and mobile, wired and wireless means".

The final Digital Britain report is due out in summer, when detailed proposals for the USC will be published. The current USC guaranteeing a voice service to the whole country, which applies only to BT and K-Com, will be dropped once the new one is in place.

In a briefing to jounalists and industry this morning, Carter said: "At the moment... a guaranteed 2Mbit/s wireless broadband connection is pretty tricky to do. But by 2012 we might be in a different place so we're setting an ambition, that's all we're saying. Let's put something out there as a marker."

Carter baffled many in the room with his description of the new USC as "an aspiration to a floor of up to 2Mbit/s". He went on to compare it to the minimum standards of quality applicable to the water industry, but "with a kind of plus or minus".

"If you took the most remote household in the furthest part of the United Kingdom it might cost you £100m to provide that person with 2Mbit/s guaranteed; that wouldn't be an economically rational thing to do," he said. "So where you're stating this as a government document what you have to do is give yourself a little bit of wiggle room."

It's been reported that an earlier draft of the report said 2Mbit/s should be the hard minimum speed. Carter said he had considered several options before making his "wiggle room" recommendation.

The ongoing debate on how to fund very high speed internet access via next generation fibre network rollout also received a brief airing.

Carter said he expects the market to be able to justify rollout to between 60 and 65 per cent of the country. Beyond that, he said the government would have to examine options. He indicated that the earlier Caio report's recommendation that fibre rollout should not attract large public investment could be ignored by ministers. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Oh girl, you jus' didn't: Level 3 slaps Verizon in Netflix throttle blowup
Just hook us up to more 10Gbps ports, backbone biz yells in tit-for-tat spat
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.