The Government should make a fully accessible 3G service an 'immediate priority', the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has claimed.
In a report issued today (12 January) about the communications sector, entitled Blazing a Trail, the body also demanded the forthcoming 4G auction, which has been subject to delays, goes ahead in the second half of this year. While it said it was 'imperative' competition be preserved, both businesses and consumers need access to the fastest broadband possible.
However, it added that the Government still needs to ensure a reliable 3G service is available. It cited a recent Ofcom report that claimed 7.7 million UK households do not have a choice of all five 3G mobile networks. It said: 'To remain globally competitive it is first necessary to ensure that our 3G service is robust and accessible, particularly in regions of the UK where a good broadband connection is still patchy at best.'
In May 2011, the Government issued a call to communications and media bodies to provide submissions ahead of a Communications Bill Green Paper, which is expected to be published within the next few weeks. A White Paper and draft bill is set to be published by April 2013. The Government said a new bill was an attempt to 'reduce regulatory burdens and future-proof for the digital age'.
CBI deputy director Neil Bentley said: 'We need the Government to think big in its forthcoming Communications Bill. Our communications sector needs a framework in place that will enable and encourage innovation, with a clear and consistent approach to regulations.'