6/17/2009 12:26:00 PM
Digital Britain report set to roll as Government sticks to 2012 pledge
The Government has pledged to make universal broadband available to all UK consumers by its 2012 deadline.
It will hand over responsibility for the delivery of the pledge to a new body – the Network Design and Procurement Group, according to the Digital Britain report published this week (16 June).
The report laid out Communications Minister Stephen Carter’s plans to provide a minimum of 2Mbps broadband to all UK households, through a combination of mobile and fixed services, in time for the 2012 Olympics.
The Universal Service Commitment to roll out the network will be funded by the £250m left over from the TV ‘digital switchover’.
Mobile operators have been involved in discussions over achieving the goal of universal broadband access since the report’s initial launch in January 2009.
Carter said at a press conference on Tuesday (16 June) that ‘licence change’ and ‘licence liberalisation’ are needed in mobile networks to achieve the same as fixed networks.
Carter’s adviser and former Ofcom executive, Kip Meek, was recruited in January to find a solution that could be imposed on the networks, after they failed to agree on the allocation of spectrum.
Meek’s proposals will now be put into effect. The first is that 900MHz spectrum holders Vodafone and O2 be banned from buying any of the 800MHz band, which will be available in 2010 when analogue TV is switched off, unless they relinquish some of their current spectrum.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile and Orange will not be forced to give up any of their 1800MHz band, but will be capped on how much of the 800MHz and 2.6GHz (also available in 2010) they can buy. 3 and the remaining operators will be able to bid freely for the 800MHz, 2.6GHz, or any spectrum that the other operators choose to give up.