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BBC Hands Over GBP300m to Help Rollout UK Superfast Broadband

Friday, August 10th, 2012 (12:42 pm) - Score 1,369
gbp uk internet money pile

As widely expected the BBC has officially confirmed that it will take an additional £300m from its TV Licence Fee (formerly the 3.5% Digital Switchover Budget) to help the UK government roll-out superfast broadband (25Mbps+) ISP services around the country.

The extra funding, which has always been a part of the Broadband Deliver UK (BDUK) plan and will increase the offices total budget from £530m today to £830m, is designed for use in the post-2015 period (i.e. 2015 to 2017/20). It will be taken away from the BBC over a two year period starting in April 2015 (£12.5m a month for two years).

At present the coalition government wants 90% of people in the UK to be within reach of a superfast broadband service by 2015 but the post-2015 plan has yet to be established. As a result the BBC Trust will now be entitled to a seat on the Broadband Portfolio Board with the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

However the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Cinematograph and Theatre Union (BECTU) remains firmly opposed to the re-allocation of BBC funds and calls for “‘the additional funding responsibilities placed on the BBC by the settlement in 2010” to be reversed. Instead it wants to see the money used to “offset some of the worst excesses of the [BBC] cuts“.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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28 Responses
  1. SlowSomerset

    They won’t meet the first plan by 2015 so what chance is there of meeting the second plan as for BT they must be rubbing their hands together.

  2. the second batch of funding should go to the altnets. Looks like we’ve lost the first to the incumbent unless the councils wake up in time.

    • New_Londoner

      Chris
      That assumes that you bid, are able to satisfy key criteria including offering open access to your network so potential customers have a choice of service provider.

    • FibreFred

      Is there a list of these alnets anywhere. I keep seeing the term banded about but is there a list of them, who they are where they operate and what they have done to date?

      I’d be interested to see how they can take a small amount of money and turn it into a full FTTH solution across the UK

    • DTMark

      A list of altnets would be really handy.

      When I look to move home, I look first to see if it’s cabled. If it isn’t then the place gets crossed off the list. If it is, then I look to see if there might be a competitor giving a choice e.g. a fibre to the cabinet option in case cable is poor or becomes poor.

      Which is a shame since there might be a really good Wi-Fi provider in the area providing that first or second choice. But trying to find out is not exactly straightforward and Samknows doesn’t always, er, know.

      Especially for rural areas the ability to see if there’s a FTTP network or Wi-Fi network is very useful.

    • FibreFred

      We’ll have to see what happens but I personally see Altnets as high risk gambles to be honest. Certainly good for competition (if they are forced to wholesale, which they should have if given public funds) but on the other hand an uncertain future, we’ve seen a few badly managed ones fold to date.

  3. I guess it depends upon how strict the EC will be with the UK government’s funding approvals. Very interested to see the outcome on that.

  4. New Londoner, open access? it all comes from openreach. a monopoly.

    • FibreFred

      But the altnet would also be a monopoly? I think that is what he’s getting at

    • DTMark

      Better to have two, er, monopolies, than one.

    • FibreFred

      Two monopolies in one area ? How can that be, that is what we are talking about. People should have a choice of ISP no matter who physically installs the network

    • DTMark

      .. but people should be disallowed the choice of who installs the network, right?

    • FibreFred

      If there is another telco willing to put in a network themselves there is a choice, where there isn’t one, there isn’t a choice.

    • DTMark

      But that’s what makes me giggle. BT (you and New_Londoner) have previously argued that if a second network were built here (rural, no broadband network at all, just a knackered old telephone network), it would be a monopoly.

      But it would not. It would give a choice of say a FTTP network with say 100Mbps speeds available, or, the BT telephone network with speeds of around 2Mbps.

      So people still have a choice, a choice presently denied them.

    • FibreFred

      I’m on about the new network, locked into an ISP of one, i.e. no wholesale, not good for any customer

    • FibreFred

      Also who is denying them this 100Mbps network? Another telco I presume

    • FibreFred

      Well hopefully this Euro enquiry will sort that out. The BDUK money will only go so far though

    • DTMark

      There’s an underlying point here.

      That the motives of the infra and service providers differ.

      Which implies that the infra provider should not also be a service provider.

    • FibreFred

      🙂 You may have trouble convincing BT that they shouldn’t do one or the other 😉

  5. Open Access is easy to offer. The issue is that the big ISPs such as Talktalk cannot be bothered to do it with small altnet.

  6. Bob2002

    It’s outrageous that the BBC should have to hand over this money. It could have been used, for the betterment of humanity, on programmes like EastEnders, Strictly Come Dancing, and The Voice.

  7. zemadeiran

    Again we come back to the kind of model prescribed by zemadeiran:

    Lets build an open, read that (vlans) redundant fiber mesh across the whole of GB.

    I am sure that some networking geeks can step in and work out the best standards based and future proof solution which can be replicated again and again.

    I know the lords want digital pumps and p2p instead of PON but if the network is publicly owned and maintained we can bypass all current comms networks.

    GPON/EPON really is an excellent solution for ring and mesh.

    We need to separate the underlying network from the service providers completely and keep it in public hands for the public’s benefit.

  8. anon

    hmmmm is that why we pay a licence fee for the crap the bbc puts on the tv and give out money willie nillie shocking

  9. How did this get approved? We have the TV Tax extorted from us, which means the BBC ends up with three and a half BILLION pounds to fritter away, and then we are told that some of this is to go towards broadband infrastructure, which has nothing to do with TV. Ever been had?

    • DTMark

      It’s modern socialism. The only difference to traditional Marxist socialism is that the people paying end up with no ownership of the “means of production”, as in the broadband network(s). More commonly known as “corporatism” or correctly, “fascism”.

      Not that I’m a socialist by any means. And anyway, the BBC is still outstanding. Were it not for that, I doubt I’d ever watch TV. It would just be full of lowest-common-denominator tat like the X-Factor. It’s a bargain.

      But to take your point, you wonder whether it could be perhaps more of a bargain.

    • Sadly the choices were either to take it from the BBC’s Digital Switchover budget or follow Labour’s model and put a 50p tax on every fixed telephone line in the country, which would have netted more cash but seemed quite unpopular.

      Neither solution was ideal but the money has to come from somewhere I guess. The BBC source was arguably the least painful but it’s certainly open to almost endless debate.

  10. Happyness

    Fair also considering the Beeb are one of the group involved in the Youview project so want to use broadband tech to deliver their content.

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