The Ofcom draft plan for 2012/2013 has been published, and they are welcoming responses to the draft plan. Additionally they are also holding a series of meetings, one on 31st January in London, another in Glasgow on 17th January and two more, whose dates are yet to be confirmed in Wales and Northern Ireland. The events are open to the public (you must register to attend), and in addition to tea/coffee and biscuits will feature a short presentation followed by a Q&A session.
The draft plan on reading it through contains nothing ground breaking in terms of broadbandemphasis'sly emphasises what has been said before and gitime framearer timeframe for events.
Work in collaboration with Government and industry to promote widespread superfast broadband and reduce mobile not-spots.
4.46 The Government has a stated aim of ensuring the UK has the best broadband networks in Europe by the end of 2015, with 90% of premises having access to superfast broadband, and speeds of 2 Mbit/s available to virtually all homes across the UK.
4.47 The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have set similar targets and additional funding has been secured by the Scottish Government and local authorities in Scotland to assist roll-out. In Northern Ireland a £52m investment project, led by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has already been completed, making fibre-based superfast broadband available to more than 81% of households. Similarly, the Next Generation Broadband Wales Project aims to provider services of at least 30 Mbps to homes and businesses throughout Wales.
4.48 Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is responsible within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for allocating the £530m of public funds that government has made available to support the achievement of this goal. BDUK is also reprocurementor putting in place a procuremetn framework that will allow local authorities to efficiently run superfast broadband procurements to address specific local needs.Extracts from Ofcom draft plan
A great part of Ofcoms role in supporting superfast broadband roll-outs, is in the shape of the PIA (Physical Infrastructure Access) rules, and the requirement on BT to offer a virtual unbundled local access (VULA) to its next-generation fibre infrastructure. Thus attempting to ensure that providers such as Sky, TalkTalk, O2 and other LLU operators can access the new network at a wholesaleveled.
A fair bit of criticism is levelled at the BDUK and the apparent slow appearance of visible work. In part this is down to the requirement for the local authorities to create a plan for approval by the BDUK, and only at that time will the allocated funds be released to the authority, for them to allocate as part of their procurement process. Thus it is likely that the first full BDUK projects will not be visible until 2013, with working carrying on right into 2015. The handful of BDUK pilots should start to be offering service in 2012 hopefully, and give a firmer indication of what is possible.
The issue of best network in Europe by end of 2015 is contentious, but for many fibre networks across Europe they are effectively vertical markets similar to Virgin Media in the UK, so if the metric of the service being available at the wholesale level is strictly applied, the BT Openreach fibre network, and any others created by Fujitsu are very likely to win the percentage game.