Digital Britain report calls for 2Mbps broadband for all by 2012

30 Jan 2009

The UK’s communications minister, and former head of regulator Ofcom, Stephen Carter, has released his interim Digital Britain report, detailing proposals for improving and expanding the nation’s digital infrastructure. The interim report contains more than 20 recommendations, including specific proposals on next generation networks, universal access to broadband and the modernisation of wireless radio spectrum holdings.

The centrepiece of the report is the proposal that all homes should have access to broadband services at speeds of 2Mbps by 2012, with universal broadband expected to be delivered by a combination of mobile and fixed line operators. In line with increasing the availability of wireless broadband services the report has emphasised the importance of a resolution to the ongoing dispute over spectrum between mobile operators; O2 and Vodafone have objected to plans announced in 2007 by Ofcom that will see some of their spectrum given to rivals Orange and T-Mobile. Cellcos have been given until the end of April 2009 to reach a resolution on the matter, failing which the government will impose its own solution.

Decisions on funding for next generation broadband networks by the government however have been delayed. The report instead calls for a government-led panel to assess the demand for higher speed services, particularly with reference to the already-announced plans of both BT and Virgin for next generation networks.

The final version of the Digital Britain report is expected later this year.

United Kingdom