Feeds

Oi, don't leave Cymru in broadband slow lane, MPs warn

Welsh demand alternatives to BT fibre

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

The UK government's broadband rollout plan fails to address the needs of businesses in Wales, MPs have warned in a report published today. The dossier highlights an apparent "gap" in internet access in more remote parts of Cymru.

The House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee cautioned that too many "slow spots" and "not spots" remained in the country and claimed that the economy in Wales was suffering as a result because entrepreneurs were deterred from setting up shop there.

While the UK government has pledged to bring the "fastest broadband of any major European country" to 90 per cent of UK homes and businesses by the end of this Parliament in 2015, the Welsh Assembly is promising even more superfast network coverage for its citizens by mid-2016.

The committee's report said on Monday that "eradicating the remaining broadband notspots and slowspots in Wales must be the priority for both the UK and Welsh governments".

MPs added that mobile and satellite technologies should be promoted, particularly for more rural parts of Wales, to prevent an over-reliance on the rolling out of fibre optic cabling.

In the report, cross-party politicos recommended:

  • Ofcom undertake a study to evaluate whether satellite broadband should be supported more vigorously in Wales.
  • The delayed Spectrum auction, now planned for 2013, must ensure that 4G mobile services are available to at least 98 per cent of people in Wales.
  • Ofcom must continue its efforts to open up access to infrastructure in Wales. BT's market power must be regulated effectively to ensure efficient operation of the market.

Welsh Tory MP and chair of the committee David Davies claimed that decent internet access was increasingly becoming a "generator of economic success and a means of addressing social exclusion," before adding that some parts of Wales remained bereft of any broadband connection at all.

He further warned that time was running out for what he described as "extremely ambitious targets for broadband provision".

The report also offered up a few war of words between BT and its rival Virgin Media.

The committee said that VM's Matt Rogerson was among the witnesses to tell the MPs that BT has used its market power to squeeze out competitors who wanted access to its ducts and poles infrastructure.

"It is a tension throughout all the procurement processes across the UK. Basically, the company that is most likely to benefit from hundreds of millions of pounds is in charge of the product. The absence of a decent product will mean that no player other than BT can enter the procurement processes," Rogerson grumbled.

BT's director of Wales, Ann Beyon, responded thusly:

We absolutely welcome the concept of opening up our ducts and poles to other providers. That is an ongoing debate between ourselves and Ofcom. We have not agreed the pricing. There is certainly going to be room for manoeuvre on the pricing. We have two trialists working with us at the moment.

You must remember that when you do something quite dramatic like using poles and ducts and allowing other people into that infrastructure, which is critical and has to be protected for the customers' benefit, you have to do proper trials.

Those trials are ongoing. The discussions with Ofcom are ongoing and the engagement with the industry is ongoing. It is going to happen. There is a negotiation and we cannot predict what is going to happen.

In July, BT won hefty government funds to roll out a faster broadband network to Wales. Sole rival Fujitsu withdrew from the race for securing Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) investment in the country earlier this year, leaving BT as the sole bidder.

The Welsh fibre broadband project is understood to be worth around £425m, which includes £220m injected into the scheme by BT, £58m from the Welsh government, £57m from BDUK and a £90m wodge from the European Regional Development Fund. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
TEEN RAMPAGE: Kids in iPhone 6 'Will it bend' YouTube 'prank'
iPhones bent in Norwich? As if the place wasn't weird enough
Consumers agree to give up first-born child for free Wi-Fi – survey
This Herod network's ace – but crap reception in bullrushes
Crouching tiger, FAST ASLEEP dragon: Smugglers can't shift iPhone 6s
China's grey market reports 'sluggish' sales of Apple mobe
Sea-Me-We 5 construction starts
New sub cable to go live 2016
New EU digi-commish struggles with concepts of net neutrality
Oettinger all about the infrastructure – but not big on substance
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
EE coughs to BROKEN data usage metrics BLUNDER that short-changes customers
Carrier apologises for 'inflated' measurements cockup
Comcast: Help, help, FCC. Netflix and pals are EXTORTIONISTS
The others guys are being mean so therefore ... monopoly all good, yeah?
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.