FCS welcomes Lords report

The Federation of Communication Services has warmly welcomed today’s House of Lords Communications Committee report into the future provision of broadband in the UK.

“We welcome this report as a major piece of common-sense”, says FCS Chief Executive Chris Pateman. “The Lords Committee looked closely at the evidence, and concluded that taxpayers’ money is better invested in a robust and competitive approach to high quality infrastructure for tomorrow than a headline-grabbing 2MB to the most remote home in the UK today.

“FCS is particularly concerned with the needs of the business and professional user,” says Mr Pateman. “So our concern all along has been that the broadband roll-out should be thought through properly, and that there should be free competition between different suppliers to guarantee customer choice.

“Most businesses these days rely upon robust communications more then they rely upon running water. What the Lords report has identified is firstly the need for a properly developed infrastructure for comms, at least as robust as the water mains. But secondly, the vital free-market principle that any suitably-qualified provider should be able to run the pipework from the local well-head to the customer’s premises.

“We are glad to see so many of the arguments FCS has articulated over the years have been independently vindicated by the Committee as it has carefully considered the evidence and come to its conclusions. FCS has consistently argued for a ‘fat pipe’ approach to communications infrastructure, ensuring the network capacity is more than adequate for both today’s and tomorrow’s needs. Instead, we have seen the needs of business overlooked in a baffling rush to get 2MB into every home. But with no real thought of guaranteeing competition or choice of provider.

“FCS members are already feeding into the forthcoming Communications Act review: we very much look forward to working more closely with DCMS and Ofcom to take the Lords’ ideas forward. And to ensure the UK in general – and UK business in particular — really gets the robust and reliable communications infrastructure it needs to underpin its future prosperity.”

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