Media Release 25 February 2015
Independent Experts Applaud Ofcom’s Digital Communications Announcement
The independent Foundation For Information Society Policy says Ofcom’s announcement on the future of BT Openreach promises a huge boost in helping the nation catch up with other countries’ increasingly advanced broadband infrastructures.
Providing greater competitive access to the nation’s infrastructure of ducts and poles will accelerate the growth of future-proofed broadband – allowing speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second – but only where the infrastructure has been well maintained and is fit for purpose.
This will be particularly welcomed by BT’s competitors who are currently prevented from using access to BT’s passive infrastructure for backhaul to their own networks and for connecting their business customers. It will also be welcomed by consumers in areas (both rural and urban) that have not yet been able to benefit from improved broadband speeds because of the limitations of long copper lines.
Ofcom’s concern to increase competition in local networks will also be welcomed by Local Authorities. Installing competitive fibre networks all the way to businesses and homes may now be achieved without further disruptive digging of roads and pavements.
FISP will be looking closely at Ofcom’s emergent regulation to gauge the extent of enhanced measures to monitor digital connectivity performance. Current oversight of this area by Ofcom is not as effective as end customers would wish. The services that homes and businesses buy should be far more predictable and reliable. Quality of Experience metrics should include far more than headline download speeds and should in future reflect response times and upload speeds. These factors are increasingly important as we move to higher definition of video and greater use of cloud-based services – particularly for ‘working from home’.
FISP also proposes that, in line with more general devolution of powers to municipalities and regions, greater focus on local planning and improved standards for digital infrastructure provision should be seen as essential levers for local economic growth and community development.