The Government's Digital Britain report was announced today (16 June) by Lord Stephen Carter, minister of communications. Some in the mobile industry will see the eagerly-awaited Digital Britain report as something of a let-down, as many key decisions are left hanging.
Speaking at the launch, Lord Carter emphasised that the findings after months of consultation and discussion had been in the interests of the consumer rather than business.
He said: ‘It doesn’t have industrial and institutional interests at its heart and we have taken some decisions against industrial interest.’
The recommendations made by Carter and his team that have been working on the report since January included:
- 2Mbps broadband for all users by 2012
- Proposed new powers for Ofcom, the industry regulator
- Investing in mobile broadband infrastructure, so over the next five years, two thirds of the population will have access to super-fast broadband.
- Adopting Kip Meek’s recommendations for digital spectrum allocation.
Carter said that over the next four to six weeks there will be a series of publications outlining how the report will be further implemented.
Initial reaction was muted, with the 'broadband levy' and confusion over spectrum allocation drawing fire.
Orange said it was concerned that O2 and Vodafone will have a ‘critical competitive advantage’ if allowed to reuse their 900MHz spectrum before the 800MHz is available to other networks.
Chris Woodland, Communications, Associate Partner at KPMG, commented: 'Mobile operators will benefit from greater certainty in owning 3G licences indefinitely and from Ofcom’s desire to promote further levels of network-sharing, but this will be tempered a little by the unknown quantum and changes in any additional costs payable as an Administrative Incentive Pricing (AIP)'.