With Communications Minister Ed Vaizey reiterating his viewpoint that with respect to the UK having the best broadband in Europe by 2015 "We believe we are on target to achieve that", it is worth taking another look at the scorecard system announced in October 2011.
The scorecard is based around four over-arching themes, and is an approach similar to that used by Harvard University's Berkman Center in a February 2010 report Next Generation Connectivity.
"Within this format, the scorecard is intended to retain some flexibility, allowing observation of the UK's position each year, while permitting the precise detail of the data used to evolve in line with emerging technological developments, and available data. For example, there is little comparable data available on mobile broadband. This situation is expected to change rapidly as mobile broadband increases in prevalence. Therefore these fields are included in the scorecard even though they may be unpopulated in the short term. A further strength of this approach is that it will allow the adoption of any new data sources that become available, rather than being tied in to data that may no longer be the best available in future years."Extract from BDUK Programme Delivery Model
As can be seen the format is far from fixed, and it will certainly be on many peoples minds that this flexibility will help to ensure that the UK scores well in the various categories. There are some that might even suggest that for example if 4G coverage is still poor in 2015, that a lack of reliable data might mean that this metric is removed from the scorecard.
What needs to happen very soon is for the BDUK, Ofcom and the Government to produce a baseline observation on the current UK's position, allowing people and businesses to see what effect the money being spent by the BDUK and local authorities is having as the projects progress. A baseline scorecard has only five or six months, before the first BDUK pilots should in theory start to deliver their first connections.