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ISP Entanet Calls for Open Access and Local Grants to Boost UK Broadband

Wednesday, Aug 8th, 2012 (3:11 am) - Score 572

Entanet, a UK voice and data communications provider, has called for the government to improve the country’s broadband infrastructure by fostering more “open access” to BT’s national telecoms network and offering community grants that would allow rural villages to choose the best internet access solution for their area.

The comments came as part of a reaction to the recent House of Lords Select Committee Report, which heavily criticised the government’s broadband strategy and warned that it was not doing enough to improve either the infrastructure in rural areas or competition within the wider market.

Paul Heritage-Redpath, Product Manager at Entanet, told ISPreview.co.uk:

There’s an awful lot to take in from the House of Lords Select Committee Inquiry report but its “bolder vision” of broadband makes more sense than anything we’ve seen come out of Westminster thus far.

It’s asking “What should the UK’s broadband infrastructure look like in view of its place as a major strategic asset, at least on a par with the UK’s roads, railways and energy networks?” and we think every citizen with an interest in the UK’s future should read it and join the debate.”

Entanet said that it also supported the proposed idea of having Ofcom use its Article 12 powers to impose “regulatory obligations on infrastructure sharing in the broadband market to open up access to the proposed local hubs” (e.g. open access to dark fibre). This is something that has received strong support from almost everybody except BT, which is understandable, and Ofcom itself (here). In fairness BT isn’t the only large Dark Fibre operator in town and that could complicate matters.

Heritage-Redpath also suggested that local grants should be “made to communities who could then choose to invest them in the most locally appropriate of the satellite, radio, power line, wireless or indeed fibre options for the last mile“. Entanet believes that this approach would help the governments £530m budget (excluding their urban and mobile projects) “go further, faster and to everyone’s benefit“.

Certainly some degree of local grant structure could work but it would still need rules to encourage open access, competition and prevent duplication of the investment, not to mention the administrative nightmare of having to assess potentially thousands of complicated requests for funding. It might be easier to focus upon fixing the competition concerns within the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework so that BT and Fujitsu aren’t the only options.

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 X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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