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Everything Everywhere should fund rural broadband with spectrum profits
Thursday 23 June 2011 11:27:16 by John Hunt

MPs have suggested that Everything Everywhere, the mobile network that was formed from the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, should use the profit it will make from selling mobile spectrum to fund rural broadband. The company is required by the Office of Fair Trading to dispose of a quarter of the frequencies it uses for running its mobile network in the 1800MHz band as part of the terms of allowing the merger. Rules announced on Monday by Ofcom that will allow spectrum to be traded could see the company earning £450m for giving up these frequencies.

Tom Watson, a Labour MP and Ian Lucas, shadow minister for the digital economy have called for the money to be used to help deliver super-fast broadband to rural areas rather than going back to the company which may ultimately end up as dividends to shareholders.

"Do you think it is right that the government should give away a public asset to a private company that it then makes a surplus on? The British taxpayer is not getting any of the money but the French and German governments will."

Tom Watson, MP

Everything Everywhere was given the spectrum for nothing by the government back in the 1990's and will clear nearly £300m of profit once spectrum rental fees have been paid. With the German and French governments as shareholders, these countries are likely to benefit more than we will here in the UK. Everything Everywhere disputed the benefit from selling the spectrum saying that it might end up at a net loss after adjusting its network to use other frequencies it owns.


Posted by otester over 6 years ago
They owe us nothing so expect nothing.
Posted by ccxo over 6 years ago
Maybe the goverment of the day, back then should have charged for the spectrum.
Posted by GMAN99 over 6 years ago
Wouldn't that be down to Ofcom?
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
The British Tax payer is been screwed over by the British Government already, and we do not think that it is fair of a private company to do the same... This is what I read from that statement.
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
Seriously... The British government relieved us of some fifty something billion pounds to bail out the bankers, whom they said they will control from now on. They obviously can not. Why not use all the bonuses from bankers or expenses from MP's to pay for a National Fiber Broadband network?
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
Tom Watson, how can you MAKE a company sell assets that was given to them regardless of where that company was started, and then MAKE them hand the profits over? Are we moving towards communism here? If so, I want NO part of it.

Let the flaming begin...
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago

the govt seem to be having a pretty good go at your MAKEs with their approach to the oil industry. :-)
Posted by wirelesspacman over 6 years ago
perhaps more seriously, if they did indeed get the spectrum for free (or at least near as damn it) then I would have thought the govt could have quite easily made them give the spectrum back to the govt for free as a condition of the merger.
Posted by fibrebunny over 6 years ago
I don't much care for certain politicians either, not that I go around demanding their lunch money pay for services.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
We need something like MBNL but for all providers, no more spectrum fees but just investment in the network.
Posted by craigbrass over 6 years ago
@otester: Exactly. Charging for spectrum ultimatly results in us paying anyway as we get charged more for services and we miss out because they can't invest in the network. ONE single network that is run not for profit (ie just for the 5 networks who contribute in proportion of customers). True near-100% coverage would result...
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
@fibrebunny. Not their lunch money... their fish pond... :)
@otester and craigbrass. I like it... I like it a lot. Even better would be something like the Aussie NBN, coupled with that. 4G is all about IP, so why not build out a Fibre network, and as part of your either telco deal or ISP deal, have a lower power access point (using whatever access technology being used) on your roof to build out the mobile networks.
Posted by Spacemanc over 6 years ago
A single mobile and fibre network is the only logical way. FTTP for all, with maybe 5% of each premises bandwidth open for public use via wifi. A kind of Netwrok Rail for telecoms. This would result in massive savings long term, as well as giving us a 21st century infrastructure.
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago
Yes. I agree. Now how do we get BT and / or the government to stop this damn piecemeal crap and do this thing properly...
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

Mobile networks have their own microwave back-haul, a fiber network is unnecessary.

Also BT is basically a state-backed corporate monopoly, with the artificial competition set up at ISP level (LLU), infrastructure competition is difficult.
Posted by vicdupreez over 6 years ago

Yup, in the current Mobile networks, there is a mix of microwave and fibre, but what I am saying is that when we go to 4G, which is all about being ALL ip, what is the point in duplicating the networks.
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