Monday, 6 December 2010

Britain's Broadband Questions

We hope that our interim and final reports may have contributed to the UK government's rethinking of its broadband strategy since July. Today's Britain's Digital Future announcement from the UK government echoes several of our recommendations, including the key recommendation that, Every community will get a digital hub so that by 2015 the UK has the best fast-broadband network in Europe..

In a dot.Rory blogpost published today, Rory Clelland-Jones (@BBCRoryCJ) asks what this means. What is a digital hub? What is meant by every community? The answers will be crucial to the success of the policy. Our final report has detailed answers to both questions.

What is a digital hub?

A digital hub performs two functions:

First, a hub should bring a fibre connection to each community, so that community networks and service providers can access a trunk connection to the global internet.

To stimulate innovation and maximise opportunities for revenue generation, wholesale access should be open at several levels, including IP services, leased wavelengths, dark fibre, ducts and poles. At the IP level, Britain needs regulation that provides existing and new providers with a level playing field guaranteeing access to equitable peering and transit contracts. Britain's core digital connectivity should enable appropriate use of all technology options: cabled and wireless connections, dedicated and over-IP channels, symmetric interactions, and real-time and on-demand content delivery.

A hub providing every community with open wholesale access to fibre should enable domestic, business and wireless providers to develop innovative forms of local access.

Second, social hubs should be provided so that internet access and support is available to residents and visitors, in libraries or other community centres.

What is meant by every community?

To enable universal access to next-generation speeds, the core backhaul infrastructure, must bring fibre within reach of every community of 2,000 people. Wherever a circle drawn on the map encompasses a population of at least 2,000 people, that circle should include a hub.

1 comment:

  1. great post, I agree, and if the village pump is open access there is nothing stopping a community smaller than 2000 people digging their own fibre to it and joining up the smaller groups. I would actually lower the figure to 1000, because that will be a sustainable pump. The trick is then to join up all the pumps and put gigabit capacity through them so all local traffic is virtually free. Education, government and healthcare will see enormous benefits.