Broadband Stakeholder Group Annual Report Drives Broadband Agenda

Broadband Stakeholder Group Annual Report Drives Broadband Agenda

Landmark report provides step-by-step guide to becoming the most active broadband market in the G7, and calls on Government to champion change

Since November last year, Broadband take up has increased by 300%; retail ADSL prices have dropped by more than 30%; and coverage has increased by 7 percentage points with broadband services now available to 67% of the UK’s 24 million households.

19 November 2002

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the government’s key advisory group on broadband, today unveils its eagerly awaited second annual report on the development of Broadband Britain. “The UK now has a tremendous opportunity to build on the 300% growth achieved over the last eleven months, and deliver on the promise of Broadband Britain.” said Keith Todd, Chairman of the BSG.

The BSG has set two main priorities for 2003:

  • Accelerating broadband take-up – In the year ahead Broadband needs to become a ‘must-have’ service for consumers, business and Government. The BSG calls on Government and service providers to continue their aggressive promotion of Broadband focusing on marketing the benefits to users. The Government can also play a key role as a purchaser of broadband access, content, applications and services, for improved health, education and other public services. The BSG will continue to research the way Broadband is changing and influencing online behaviour.
  • Extending broadband coverage and increasing competition – The report focuses on the importance of wireless broadband services and shared civil infrastructure as two key enablers for increasing coverage and competition. Wireless technologies have the ability to cost-effectively extend coverage to new areas, as well as opening the market to new service providers. The BSG calls on Government to prioritise the allocation of appropriate spectrum and set out a strategic plan for wireless broadband services.

Additionally, the BSG argues that the Government enables third party provision of civil infrastructure (ducts, buildings etc) to be shared by operators on a non-discriminatory basis. This would reduce the cost burden faced by operators, allowing them to extend/upgrade their networks more cost effectively, bringing further stimulus to the broadband marketplace.

Speaking at today’s E-Summit, Keith Todd, Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group, said: “Broadband is central to the UK e-government agenda. Broadband is poised to have a radical effect on society and business. Our report will help policymakers turn theory into reality – and take Britain forward on its broadband journey.”

“We’ve made good progress this year,” added Antony Walker, CEO, Broadband Stakeholder Group. “We’ve now got to focus on driving more volume into the broadband market and really demonstrate the demand for bandwidth. This will be essential for securing long-term capital investment for the future. On the demand side, online education should be exploited as a major driver of adoption – as we have seen in Korea the classroom can be a springboard for mass adoption of broadband.”

The Broadband Stakeholder Group was established in April 2001 to advise the Government on its strategy for achieving its 2005 goal. The recommendations of its first report, published in November 2001, were almost entirely accepted and are now being implemented – the Government acknowledged that there was no ‘silver bullet’ to speed up broadband adoption. The BSG strategy is based on a ‘virtuous circle’ model of adoption, whereby a critical mass of early adopters and market makers fuel mainstream development and adoption of broadband services. Today’s report builds on these recommendations and is expected to take a leading role in shaping Government broadband policy.

BSG Second Annual Report and Strategic Recommendations

BSG Second Annual Report: Wireless

BSG Second Annual Report: Devolved Administrations

Key Metrics Annex