United Kingdom - National Broadband Policy to 2015

Synopsis

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.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. UK government’s NBN programme
  • 3. Financing Universal Broadband
  • 4. Absence of a long term vision
  • 5. A look at the key operators
    • 5.1 BT
      • 5.1.1 BT’s FttC/FttH strategy
    • 5.2 Virgin Media
      • 5.2.1 Virgin Media cable
      • 5.2.2 Virgin Media FttH
  • 6. Regulating fibre access
  • 7. Remaining issues
    • 7.1 Economic considerations
    • 7.2 Data speed
    • 7.3 Costing fibre
    • Table 1 – Broadband penetration by technology – 2004 - 2012
    • Table 2 – Cable and DSL broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2013
    • Table 3 – BT retail and wholesale broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2012
    • Table 4 – Household availability of BT FttC network – 2010 - 2014
    • Table 5 – FttC availability and projected speeds by distance – 2012
    • Table 6 – Virgin Media broadband customer mix, by data rate – 2011 - 2012
    • Table 7 – Virgin Media anticipated customer traffic – 2011 - 2013
    • Table 8 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 - 2012
    • Table 9 – Advertised and average realised broadband speed – May 2010
    • Table 10 – Estimated cost of fibre by deployment technology – 2012
    • Chart 1 – Cable and DSL broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2013
    • Chart 2 – BT retail and wholesale broadband subscribers – 2004 - 2012
    • Chart 3 – Virgin Media subscribers by sector – 2007 – 2012

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Number of pages 12

Status Archived

Last updated 20 Aug 2012

Analyst: Henry Lancaster

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