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BSG - Next-Gen UK Broadband Under Threat

Posted: 16th Apr, 2007 By: MarkJ
The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) has warned that the UK will shortly face tough decisions over the building of future broadband networks. The group states that unless these are made within the next two years then it could have a detrimental affect:

Without these networks the UK could suffer profound social and economic setbacks, says the industry group. Taking no action could also mean that digital divisions across the UK become entrenched. In 2001, notes the report, the UK was 21st among OECD nations ranked by the number of broadband users. Now the UK heads G7 countries for availability of narrow band broadband.

However, it warns that all the hard work done to reach that position could be for nothing if more work is not done to update the UK's telecoms infrastructure to handle very high-speed broadband.

Mr Meek said it was hard to put an exact figure on how fast networks are going to have to be in the future, but estimates of 20mbps and upwards were at the lower end of most estimates.

The report goes on to note that existing telecoms infrastructure wouldn't be able to offer such high speeds, meanwhile the current market doesn't encourage operators to invest in new networks. No doubt BT would agree, which continues to shun newer fibre networks; due in part to a lack of foreseeable economic reward.

Typically there are some suggestions regarding how the market and circumstances could be changed so that operators are able to make the needed investment. Government education as to the importance of broadband must play a part, so too will new (more competitive) regulatory frameworks and a set of models for solving the problem itself.

The precise details of all this are a little flaky and itÂ’s ultimately designed for the government and operators to fill in the blanks, but will they? BT has kept some distance from FTTx (Fibre) connections, but hints that such a situation might change if the right conditions were to exist. The government may need to go further than they did for ADSL if such networks are ever to be built. More @ BBC News Online.
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