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Coalition Government announced broadband policy
Thursday 20 May 2010 11:30:34 by Sebastien Lahtinen

The Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government has this morning published its full coalition agreement. This new document spanning 36 pages goes into more detail on a number of areas including government policy on broadband:

"We will introduce measures to ensure the rapid roll-out of superfast broadband across the country. We will ensure that BT and other infrastructure providers allow the use of their assets to deliver such broadband, and we will seek to introduce superfast broadband in remote areas at the same time as in more populated areas. If necessary, we will consider using the part of the TV licence fee that is supporting the digital switchover to fund broadband in areas that the market alone will not reach."

Government Broadband Policy

It does not provide the level of detail many will hope, but no doubt this will emerge in due course after the new ministers can start to get to grips with the details of proposals. What is clear is that the Conservative policy of top-slicing the BBC license fee has not been ruled out in a bid to aid broadband rollout in rural areas, and we do not expect to see a return of the 'broadband tax', a 50 pence per month levy proposed by the previous government. The policy does leave open the possibility of further funding mechanisms, including provisions such as reform of the fibre rates, that will encourage the industry to invest in next generation networks.


Posted by rasczak over 7 years ago
We will ensure that BT and other infrastructure providers allow the use of their assets to deliver such broadband

I wonder whether this means they will require Virgin to wholesale out their cable broadband, or provide physical access to their ducts and/or cabinets to other operators ?
Posted by systemx over 7 years ago
I would not get too excited, with all the stuff they say they intend to do they will run out of time before the next election, assuming they stagger on for the full 5 years.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
The best thing the coalition could do is remove the barriers to private investment in the infrastructure (make utilities share digs, remove VOA tax on lit fibre, encourage highways and councils to participate etc). I see that as the role of policy makers. Currently it is far too expensive to DIY. If the playing field was level many communities could invest in their own infrastructure because the telcos only want to do areas of high profit and leave the rest on dial up.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
cd - how many are on dial-up?
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
Digitalbritain team reckons 10% on dial up. the same 10% who won't get next gen either. the same 10% who can't get mobile. There are over 200 families who I know of round here on dial up, I think it is more than industry thinks, more like 20%.
They have also admitted 30% are on less than 2meg USC. the final third.To deliver broadband to the final third they need to use fibre, otherwise if they use more copper it will cost more and not be futureproof.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
If it were possible to do the final third on copper it would have been done by now. If they try to make it work through the copper using BET it will cost a fortune and not be futureproof. If the telcos won't do it properly then someone else has to. In order to do it there has to be level playing field and incentives to councils, utilities etc to collaborate.
Posted by camieabz over 7 years ago
I can imagine some of the comments of those who do not use broadband. Why should TV licence payers pay for services they will never use?

However it does raise issues about the service becoming more of public service and less of a luxury. Once full coverage has been reached, will a 'broadband licence' become the norm, and will governments seek to regulate it in the same manner that the BBC is regulated?

Will broadband users have to have two licences if they watch their TV via broadband?

Posted by gobbybobby over 7 years ago
@camiebz. People who do not use Broadband should, That way services can be moved online costing the government less money. Thats said I only get 1 meg where I live and pay for up to 8. Also I am still waiting to have GAS installed so it prob be a long wait :)
Posted by mattbibby over 7 years ago
Ahhh I wonder usually come out with some witty comment here.... but in this case.

Lets see what happens, the government have a lot to gain out of this in the long term
Posted by tcrooks3843 over 7 years ago
Why no mention of Ed Vaizey as minister for broadband. This seems to have been reasonably well received?
Posted by mishminx over 7 years ago
TV licence payers already fund services they do not use. I suspect an expansion of the TV licence scheme might be perceived as the bigger threat. As a current TV licence covers you for live online broadcasts.

An eventual expansion to assume all broadband must be covered by a TV licence is a current concern for some not in favour of the licence scheme itself.

Were it not for broadband, then they would have found something else to spend the licence money on. As could have been the case with the phone tax. Where we would in effect have two taxes applied to view via fixed line.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 7 years ago
Lets see how much money they can throw into the pot, so far BT has spent £2.5B, more than any other private company worldwide, all other countries with fibre at present were heavily funded by the gov. If decent funding is given, it would be good news for all.
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 7 years ago
@tcrooks3843: Ed Vazey announcement was separate and I didn't have confirmation when I wrote it. I've been busy doing interviews today :)
Posted by adslmax over 7 years ago
BT should forget the copper wire for any repairing, it total waste of time and waste of money. They should replacement with a new fibre optic cable instead as the future start RIGHT NOW !!!! I do hope the coalition government want 100% in UK to have fibre optic up to 100Mbps by 2015. Not 66% or 99%.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
So how do you repair a short distance of copper quickly with fibre and what do you put on the ends?

100% is not realistic.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
How will they "ensure" BT allows the use of their assets? They are a private company as are Virgin, you can't "ensure" them to do anything.
Posted by CaptainHulaHoop over 7 years ago
@ gman

they already do

LLU, welcome to 2006 and the birth of openreach
Posted by Norest over 7 years ago
As of December 2008 4.9% of internet connections were dial-up as reported by the ONS sadly they no longer publish these statistics. I would guess it would be less than 2%.
Posted by wdeadmanwalking1 over 7 years ago
I beleive that BT should give free broadband access to every one
Posted by jtthedevil over 7 years ago
And do you believe in Santa too.....
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
Norest - bit of a difference between cd estimating 20% and your 2%.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 7 years ago
People really need to grow and stop just shouting 'replace all copper with fibre'. You really don't seem to get how much of the stuff their is in the UK, there is millions upon millions of miles. No private company can afford to do it on its own. End of. Deal with it.

Until gov funding is provided, 21CN and FTTC makes a good stop-gap and doesn't waste money, it merely gets the network ready for FTTH once funding is found/provided.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
@ Capt heheh yeah I know what LLU is but I just don't see this being the same really. I know in our area BT don't even have space in their own ducts for their own cables never mind anyone's elses
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
... also how will they get Virgin to open up? I'd love to see that, it would be great if BT, Kingston and Virgin were all made to do it, but if they only target BT well that's hardly fair, they do say "other infrastructure providers" so its a big hint, but I can see Virgin resisting a little on that front :)
Posted by Norest over 7 years ago
Somerset - My link to the ONS document shows that less than 5% of connections were on dial-up in December 2008. And that was a 1% drop over a 3 month period from September 2008. My less than 2% estimate is very conservative. It could potentially be less than 1%. People who cant get wired broadband may well have shifted over to wireless 3G if its available.
Posted by BIORAPTOR over 7 years ago
I am just wondering what measures the government are going to implement to make sure we get "Super-fast Broadband"?
What ever they are?.I do know this,I do not believe this is going to happen in my life age.
Posted by jtthedevil over 7 years ago
You'd have thought Virgin would love to open there network to other providers and get paid instead of BT. It seems a real waste, BT putting fibre into areas where Virgin already have fibre customers.
More money could surely be put back into expanding their network.
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
BT are putting fibre where the ISPs want to compete with VM.
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
Exactly its called competition, you don't just avoid setting up in an area just because someone got their first.
Posted by otester over 7 years ago
I wouldn't mind a BT monopoly in rural areas if they provided a decent service.

I just want these terms:

-Speed is what I pay for.
-Good customer service.
Posted by wirelesspacman over 7 years ago
Easy - all you need is to be prepared to pay for your own 1:1 contention feed! Job done :-)
Posted by jtthedevil over 7 years ago
GMAN- Thats what i'm saying, why fibre up an area thats already done! Open up the networks for all ISP's, Virgin get paid for users on their network, BT can extend the fibre footprint and offer Virgin and other products. That's real competition
Posted by jtthedevil over 7 years ago
As i've said before, the fibre roll out in my area is to cabinets at most 1 mile for the exchange. They are going to target areas that probably already have 4mb+ speeds and forget about areas where speed isn't so good. Who is likely to pay for fibre, a large percentage of people getting 0.5mb, or a small number of people already getting more than adequate speeds?
Posted by GMAN99 over 7 years ago
I'd love that Mr Devil but you will find Virgin just won't play ball, would be great if they did though, this thing is who is going to make them do all of this aren't the tories ditching Ofcom?
Posted by Somerset over 7 years ago
otester - have you missed the words 'up to'?
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