UK broadband plans panned

Analysts have blasted the UK government’s next generation network plans for being light on detail.

Research firm Ovum claims the plans to offer the fastest broadband in Europe, outlined yesterday, are no different to pledges by other governments in the region, and said the focus on incumbent BT could stifle competition.

Analyst Charlie Davies said several UK ISPs are “worried that BT will simply maintain and even increase its market position in broadband as a result of its dominant position in more rural areas,” in an e-mailed statement.

Those concerns have been heightened by a BT pledge to match public funding of £830 million (€980 million) to boost fiber deployment in rural areas over the next decade, Davies said.

Jeremy Hunt, secretary for culture, Olympics, media and sport, yesterday confirmed the investment while outlining plans to deploy a minimum 24Mbps service to two-thirds of UK addresses by 2015.

Plans include installing a digital hub in every community, cutting the cost of accessing infrastructure through shared access, and working with builders to ensure new homes are kitted out with broadband cable.

“We want the UK to have the best broadband system in Europe by 2015,” Hunt stated.

A BT spokesman confirmed the telco would extend its current investment of £2.5 billion in fiber build-out, but that the amount would “depend on the government funds that we are able to secure.”

The telco estimates that it could hit 90% of premises by 2015 if awarded the full £830 million.

Tags :