The UK’s current broadband policy will guide the sector’s development through to 2015. It is to a large measure based on the 2009 Digital Britain report and was legislated for in the 2010 Digital Economy Act. Firstly, the policy aims to provide universal broadband access by 2015, with fixed-line networks to be complemented by mobile broadband. To this end, the regulator will in early 2013 auction spectrum in the 800MHz and 2.6GHz bands, to be used by operators for LTE services. In addition, refarmed 900MHz spectrum will also be allowed for mobile broadband. Secondly, the government aims by 2015 to provide a 24Mb/s service to at least 90% of the population. This is to be achieved by supplementing the commercial efforts of BT’s FttC network with a host of government, private and EC funding amounting to some £1.3 billion.
A new Communications Bill, for which a White Paper is being prepared for consideration in early 2013, will set out the government’s programme for the post-2015 period. This report analyses the government’s programme to achieve its NBN aims. It also assesses the strategies and business cases of the major operators, as also the key regulatory measures – and their shortcomings– adopted by Ofcom.