Industry concerns over whether coalition government will help broadband Britain
The i3 Group, the company behind Fibrecity and H2O networks, have raised concerns about the coalition government that is now in power in the UK and what effects this will have on super-fast broadband policy in the UK. They feel the best plan would be to stick with Conservative policy put forward before the election, which largely allows the market to try and provide services, but sees the government stepping in supplying assistance to get high-speed broadband services to areas where the market will not deploy. The Conservative plans abandoned Labour's idea of a controversial 50p tax on phone lines.
"The Conservatives are the only party that have delivered a more structured and believable strategy for super fast broadband. They have a lot of time to make up due to the great Digital Britain debate that has been underway for far too long while companies like the i3 Group are already making strides to deliver it!
The area that is the toughest to address is the rural broadband issue, and the Conservatives are not alone in their vague approach in how to resolve it. I am concerned by their 'wait and see' strategy which hopes that the networks in rural areas will be built without any public spending. It is unrealistic, as often the figures to build a commercially viable infrastructure just don't stack up. I am in favour of their idea to use the BBC licence fee to fund connectivity in areas with limited access - and is certainly a much more sensible approach than Labour's proposed broadband tax was.
I hope that the Conservatives will put a stop to using the public purse for initiatives that the market can supply and see it supporting those 'not spot' areas that have limited access."Elfed Thomas, (CEO) i3 Group
Broadband policy is not likely to be high-up on the coalition plans to address with many other tasks due ahead of this, such as appointing ministers to relevant departments, and them catching up on what needs doing. The Lib Dem's did state their intention to repeal the Digital Economy Act/Bill which was forced through during the last days of government. This bill did have Conservative support, but this only came late in the parliamentary process and was perhaps due to deals being done to get other bills through, but this does leave potential for this to perhaps be re-evaluated under the new government, and revised to a more fitting purpose.