UK Launches Review into High-Speed Broadband

The UK government has launched a review to investigate potential barriers to high-speed broadband following concern that businesses need support to build the infrastructure which is considered so critical to the country’s future economic success.

Chris Smedley, Chief Executive of Geo, which has the latest nationally deployed dark fibre network running alongside the UK gas pipeline and in London’s sewers, comments: “We’ve seen a massive upswing in demand for capacity on our customers’ networks driven by film, video and music downloads. This is certain to grow in the future as the internet distribution models continue to dominate and technologies such as streaming live video, HDTV and remote storage become the norm.”

“Much of the legacy infrastructure in the UK just can’t cope with these demands. Not only will consumers be impacted, but so will businesses that won’t be able to realise the benefits of the next-generation services which run on high-speed networks,” adds Smedley.

Geo strongly believes that, whilst a fast evolving picture, the industry models in place since the creation of BT Openreach provide sufficient competition in the markets for the infrastructure needed for the local access and core fibre networks. The problem remains the so-called “middle mile” where the regulator needs to incentivise the building of new fibre infrastructure such as that which Geo provides and builds for its customers.

The review will report back to ministers and Chancellor Alistair Darling in the autumn.

Business and Competitiveness Minister Shriti Vadera comments: “”We need to prepare the way for the UK to adopt groundbreaking new technologies to ensure that we do not get left behind – competitively or technologically.”

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