Peter Cochrane tells House of Lords committee BDUK funds are petty cash
The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications has been listening to Peter Cochrane present evidence as part of the inquiry into the Government's superfast broadband strategy.
Peter Cochrane was not holding back when talking to the committee, saying that the current BDUK level of funding is petty cash, and would only be approaching a sensible amount if a zero was added to it. He personal view is that Fibre to the Premises is the only real solution, and that any roll-out of Fibre to the Cabinet is a big mistake, that will require re-engineering in a couple of years. He did point out that he does understand why companies have opted for FTTC in the UK and around the world.
Rather than being purely an assault on what the commercial market and Government have done to date, he does make some points that could take the UK forward.
- Pursue unbundling of the duct network
- Unbundle fibre
- Empower Ofcom to regulate wavelengths over fibre, in a similar way to which it regulates the wireless specture
- Assist startups, to provide a third competitor and disrupt the cosy duo-opoly
Whether the House of Lords will be able to force any changes of direction upon the Government in the broadband direction is a big unknown, in some ways the call for evidence is three to four years late. Pausing or re-aligning the current BDUK projects would cause disruption meaning any 2015 deadlines are missed. Where things could be turned around is how the £300m earmarked for 2015 to 2017, and decisions on how the UK should move forward from 2015.