CEO's monthly update: Reaching milestones

CEO's monthly update: Reaching milestones


Pamela LearmonthThe end of April saw a number of milestones met by various broadband players. Ofcom pronounced that broadband in the UK had reached new levels of competition, with the number of unbundled telephone lines to homes hitting 9 million. This came just days after EE reported strong 4G take-up, making ‘good progress by focusing on high value segments’. Lord Tony Hall started as Director General at the BBC, and in his letter to staff on his first day he asked “What are the next big trends in technology and consumption that we need to grasp as we did with BBC Online and iPlayer???? won Design of the Year 2013, and the NAO announced that it would be conducting a review into the 4G auction process.

On the political side of things, the European Commission launched the anticipated ‘Preparing for a Fully Converged Audiovisual World: Growth, Creation and Values’ Green Paper consultation, which the BSG will be looking to inform in the coming months. In the UK, we saw an increasing number of exchanges in parliament on the government’s broadband objectives, including shadow culture secretary Harriet Harman MP challenging culture secretary Maria Miller MP on whether 2015 superfast targets would be delivered on.

Here at the Broadband Stakeholder Group, we’ve had a busy month. We hosted a session on the Non-Domestic ratings regime and wireless networks with the Valuations Office Agency, and were out and about speaking at several events, including at the IET’s conference on ‘Broadband: Quality or Coverage’ and the INCA Ultra-Connected Cities Seminar.

SMEs and growth are hot on political agenda (especially in light of recently launched initiatives FutureFifty and further TSB vouchers on Cyber Security), and we’ve been progressing our work in this area, including meeting with Richard Hanscott, the CEO of Hibu and at the launch of the joint Intellect-Federation of Small Businesses report on the digital imperative for small firms to use technology to create jobs and grow. Our partners TalkTalk also released a report Geared for Growth which looked at key factors that both help and hinder company growth.

Looking ahead, we’ll be watching out for developments in the Queens’ Speech and anticipated Communications White Paper. I’ll be up in Edinburgh for the Digital Scotland, speaking on the barriers to low level broadband take-up and how demand can be stimulated.