Programme Delivery Model
Broadband Delivery Programme
considered in an industry consultation process. The government is following this process closely and hopes for a pro-competitive outcome; and
In February 2011, the government hosted a seminar with participation from the telecoms, electricity and water industries together with regulators and other interested parties examining the practical issues associated with utilities sharing infrastructure. The workshop reinforced the government‟s view that while there are significant practical issues that need to be addressed, there are models for sharing infrastructure that can be beneficial to all concerned and certainly helpful in extending the reach of broadband networks. The government will continue to work with the industry and regulators in the development of sharing of infrastructure in particular working on revised guidance.
In addition to sharing of infrastructure the government is developing its proposals for allowing new overhead deployment and aims to bring these forward within the next few months.
Competitive providers also identified business rates and sub-loop unbundling (SLU) as issues that needed further examination and policy roundtables have been held with the industry, regulators and other government departments on these subjects in January and February. A note of the 11 January business rates roundtable is available on the DCMS website6. It was agreed that the government would continue to work with industry, with the Broadband Stakeholder Group facilitating the work, to examine whether amendments or clarifications to existing guidance might be made in the light of evidence to be presented by the industry. In particular it was agreed that the case for applying differential rates to the „final third‟ as compared with the rest of the country should be considered.
The government has also continued to work with the industry to understand the economics of SLU. This has been available as a product for a number of years but has not been widely used within the UK to date. One of the conclusions of the recent roundtable held with the industry and Ofcom in February 2011 is that more demand has emerged for SLU, including potentially in relation to BDUK funded projects. However, there is disagreement within the industry on the pricing of SLU and this has been formally referred to Ofcom which will adjudicate within four months.
In addition to these specific policy interventions which have the potential to support BDUK funded projects directly, the government is also pursuing the range of other policy interventions contained in Britain’s Superfast Broadband Future including looking at ways to promote broadband take-up and whether updated guidance to local authorities on issues impinging on broadband deployment such as planning and street works might have the potential to support increased broadband deployment both in urban and rural areas.
Links with other government policies
Race Online 2012 is an initiative with the aim to have everyone online by 2012. It is looking to achieve these aims through a network of partners, and its work includes building awareness of the benefits of being online, development of skills and knowledge to get online as well as encouraging companies to offer cheap packages for computers and internet access.
To help people be aware of the benefits of being online and to give people the skills to get online and make the most of it, Race Online 2012 are developing a network of Digital Champions who will volunteer to do this within their community. It is expected that there will be benefits through linking the demand stimulation activities of local broadband projects funded by BDUK and the work of Race Online 2012. For example:
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