CEO's monthly update – A pre-summer policy spree

CEO's monthly update – A pre-summer policy spree


Pamela Learmonth

A busy month in the broadband policy landscape, with the Treasury’s Spending Round and Infrastructure update providing a revised signal of intent on the Government’s headline broadband delivery targets. By upping fixed line broadband targets to 95% of the population by 2017, the Government have found a new headline target which accommodates for recent delays to roll-out and pleasing those who want wider rollout of superfast fixed connectivity. Chief Secretary Danny Alexander MP also indicated a new vision for 99% superfast connectivity including mobile solutions, and there was also mention of a revised scope for BDUK based on the recent recommendations of Olympic stalwart Lord Deighton. The Information Economy Strategy signposted a new scheme on SMEs and digital skills provision, which we can expect the Deputy Prime Minister to outline fully later in the year.

Last week, DCMS launched a consultation on a revised part of the Urban Broadband Fund (also known as Super Connected Cities) looking at a vouchers-based initiative for small and medium sized businesses. We will be working with our stakeholders over the coming weeks input to this process. And as one consultation opens, another one closes, as we issued our response to the DCMS and DCLG consultation on mobile connectivity, supporting its overall aims but urging the further easing of restrictions in protected areas to support improved connectivity in rural and hard to reach areas.

Meanwhile, the Open Internet debate has been hotting up in Brussels. We recently updated our web pages outlining the central role BSG has played in drawing up the self-regulatory code in the UK, which you can find here.

BSG were out flying the broadband flag at a number of events in June, including our Chair Richard Hooper at Intellect’s Consumer Electronics Conference speaking on navigating a new era of complete connectivity, alongside industry heavyweights David Dyson of Three, Jon James of Virgin Media and Nicolas Ott of Arqiva. I spoke in parliament at a Carnegie UK Trust event on Digital Participation, on the back of their recently launched report Across the Digital Divide.

Looking to July, we can expect a number of announcements and releases in advance of start of summer recess. The long-awaited Communications White Paper is likely to be upon us, and we can expect the opposition DCMS team to start turning up the heat on broadband policy post-2015.