Call for new U.K. broadband target

The U.K. government’s key advisory group on broadband, the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), is calling for new broadband goals for 2010.

The BSG’s third annual report highlights progress made to date, admitting that the government has been successful in meeting its 2005 targets, but warning: “There is no room for complacency as the challenge of delivering next-generation broadband comes into view.”

The report recommends the government should set new targets for the “next phase” of the U.K.’s broadband journey, “with clear milestones to be reached before 2010.” BSG CEO Antony Walker said: “It’s clear that broadband has taken off – people are seeing real benefits every day. The real challenge is to meet the growing expectations of both consumers and businesses as they adopt, adapt and absorb broadband into their daily lives and to make sure that we build a thriving and sustainable broadband market in the U.K. – this needs a new target for the next phase beyond 2005.”

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The BSG recommends the government address the following challenges in the development of broadband Britain:

“Create, deliver and exploit value – moving businesses and consumers through the phases of adopting, adapting and absorbing as quickly as possible.”

“Building a thriving and competitive content services and applications sector in the U.K. – exploiting and optimizing the potential of U.K. talent for creative media in a pro-competitive way.”

“Encourage investment in ‘next-generation’ broadband infrastructures and services ahead of the demand curve – government has a critical role in creating the right investment climate for technological development.”

“Developing new broadband ‘environments’ – moving towards a more integrated approach to fixed and mobile communications services with the development of interoperability between platforms, services and devices.”

“Bridge digital divides – breaking down barriers to universal adoption and use is critical.”

U.K. Minister of State for Ecommerce, Stephen Timms, welcomed the BSG report. He said: “Excellent progress has been made in the last 12 months with a significant increase in coverage, choice and take-up of broadband.

“However, the BSG is right to say that there remains much to be done. The widespread adoption and use of broadband is key to further improving U.K. business productivity and competitiveness.

“The BSG has been very effective in harnessing and communicating the views of the stakeholder community and I look forward to continuing the dialogue with all stakeholders as we move the next stage in the development of broadband Britain.”