Feeds

Schools and hospitals to be tapped for superfast broadband

Public sector networks could plug 'final third'

Top three mobile application threats

The government is discussing opening up public sector internet infrastructure to bring down the cost of introducing faster broadband nationwide.

The talks could create initiatives such as connecting fibre links owned by NHS hospitals and schools to local homes and businesses.

Broadband minister Ed Vaizey said exploring such ideas would be his highest priority as he launched a consultation on infrastructure sharing. The talks are aimed at bringing down the cost of deploying fibre and follow the coalition's decision to scrap the previous government's £6 per year tax on landlines.

The tax would have created a £175m annual subsidy pot to pay for fibre in the more sparsely-populated "final third" of the country, where BT has judged the commercial case is too weak. The national telco has committed £2.5bn to upgrade two thirds of its network.

Instead, the coalition will encourage the market to deliver as much as possible, as cheaply as possible before considering subsidies.

Vaizey's pledge came after an internet industry audience at the Department for Business lobbied him to include publicly-owned fibre in the consultation, which will also encourage water and electricity firms to share ducts and overhead infrastructure. Ofcom plans to force BT to do the same.

One of Vaizey's bosses, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, said he was optimistic about how much could be achieved without taxpayer funding. In South Korea - rated to have the best broadband infrastructure in the world - 95 per cent of deployments were privately funded, he said.

"We are dead serious about this," Hunt said.

He declined to give a national speed target, instead repeating his aim that by 2015 the UK will have the best broadband network in Europe. "The reason we're not nailed to a particular speed is because this is a moving feast," he said.

The ministers were also lobbied on the impact of the so-called "fibre tax". Because of the way the Valuation Office Agency calculates the rateable value of communications infrastructure, the tax disproportionately hits the smaller providers, which the government will rely on to deploy fibre to the "final third".

Vaizey and Hunt said the government will investigate the regime to see if it can be improved, but warned any changes must be "revenue neutral" to the Treasury. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.