The UK’s communications regulator, Ofcom, has outlined its next steps and long term aspirations for the development of broadband.
Ofcom believes that their initial focus on rollout and coverage has paid off, with 512kbps services now common place and around 15% of the population taking advantage of broadband.
The regulator now wants to define and focus on a phase two: “the new generation of broadband services likely to emerge as competition increases between providers.”Ofcom are still as keen as ever to promote local loop unbundling, and have been successful at goading BT into faster action to improve third-party access to exchanges – they they note that the pace in the UK does not match those in other countries: “If there is sufficient progress in reducing costs and improving operational processes, local loop unbundling in the UK has the potential to deliver the same kind of growth and innovation emerging in, for example, France and Japan, where tens of thousands of local loops are unbundled each month.” Although Ofcom’s first attempts at promoting LLU failed, they are pleased that BT is finally getting the message, and is reducing costs.
By promoting greater competition in access networks, Ofcom believes that they can increase adoption of VoIP services in the next 3 to 5 years, with the majority of households benefiting from video-quality broadband by the end of the decade.
To assist in the further progress of LLU and broadband rollout, Ofcom are keen to promote the establishment of a Telecommunications Adjudicator, an independent post designed to resolve working-level implementation disputes. Indeed, they have today named Peter Black as the man for the job – a former senior executive at BT, Thus and NTL, Black is an experienced telecommunications exec.
The post is supported by BT, AOL, C&W, Video Networks, Wanadoo and others. Ofcom chief executive Stephen Carter said in a Statement: “We welcome the fact that 12 of the most significant companies have signed up to the independent Adjudicator scheme; and we hope this drives growth in the future.”