1/29/2009 10:13:00 AM
Operators pushed to bring broadband to all
The mobile industry will be at the centre of plans to bring universal broadband to the population, under proposals to be put forward by the Government.
It will mean mobile operators will lose money on certain customers, as there will be an obligation to reach those even in remote corners of Britain.
The report, which was published today (Thursday 29 January), and after
Mobile went to press, has prompted legal teams at all of the operators to assess the financial cost to them and the impact on their competitors.
Communications minister Stephen Carter will reveal recommendations for universal broadband – or the Universal Service Obligation (USO) – in the interim ‘Digital Britain’ report.
Operators will send back their responses to Carter’s proposals before a final report is published in June, with the new terms set to go live in November.
At the report’s core will be a plan to introduce universal broadband by 2012, offering everyone in the country speeds of at least 2MB per second. It is likely mobile operators will have to support this Government goal.
Carter (pictured) is expected to propose connection through a combination of mobile and fixed-line networks, costing a total of around £3.5bn.
BT, which has come under pressure from its shareholders to pull its plan to spend £1.5bn on a next-generation, fibre optic broadband network, has already told Carter that it cannot shoulder the entire cost in such a competitive market, when mobile operators face no obligation to help foot the bill for universal communications to all British households.
Carter’s report will also look at refarming spectrum, and where it can be used. Analysts suggest that the digital dividend spectrum – which will be available when analogue is switched off – could be used for broadband.
Read full coverage of the report on Mobiletoday.co.uk