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Government broadband policy criticised
Added July 31, 2012
A Parliamentary report which took evidence from North East software initiative Sunderland Software City has made several criticisms of government broadband policy, arguing there is “a very real risk that some people and businesses are being left behind”
The “Broadband for All – An Alternative Vision” report by the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications accuses the government of “an absence of an all-encompassing vision of pervasive broadband connectivity as a key component of national infrastructure” arguing that “a national broadband network…should be regarded as a fundamental strategic asset… and regarded as a key utility.”
"The spectre of a widening digital divide is a profound source of concern which requires the government to address its origin with greater vigour than we believe is currently the case”.
In line with recommendations made in Sunderland Software City’s evidence to the committee, the report recommends that broadband technology “must be driven as close as possible to the eventual user”, with the committee urging ministers to set a bolder broadband policy by investigating the cost of creating a national network of "fibre hubs" connecting business and communities to the wider internet, and to lay the groundwork for a day when each home is connected to the internet via its own fibre line instead of the current copper wire connection to the exchange.
Sunderland Software City software specialist Alec Berry welcomed the report:
“The select committee report raises a number of fundamental and interesting insights into the government's agenda for upgrading broadband internet access across the country,” he said:
“For the committee to consider our communications network to be as important as our transport or energy networks is a significant step, as it highlights the key part that the internet plays in our economy.
“Fibre To The Home/Premises is ultimately the best solution and if the government focuses on this now, instead of focusing on Fibre To The Cabinet solutions it may well prove more cost-effective in the long-run.
“At some point in the not too distant future, the internet will serve most forms of communication and media within the home. As legacy technologies like analogue television and radio are phased out it becomes increasingly important that the Government's broadband agenda is as inclusive as it is progressive. Therefore it is a positive sign that the committee has highlighted the geographic inconsistencies of broadband coverage.”
Sunderland Software City Chief Executive Officer David Dunn added:
“We’re very pleased that the committee listened to the recommendations made by Sunderland Software City, and hope the government takes its advice on board.
“Closing the digital divide is increasingly crucial for individuals and businesses alike which is why Sunderland has placed such a huge emphasis on addressing it. We’d be delighted to offer the government the benefit of Sunderland’s experience as it considers its next steps”
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