Lords criticise Government focus on broadband speeds


Lords Communication Committee says greater emphasis on access needed, and also suggests switching TV signal to internet and closer oversight of BDUK spending

The government risks leaving some households and businesses without decent internet connections because it is too focussed on delivering certain broadband speeds, according to a report from the House of Lords Communications Committee.

The Committee said the government is not putting enough emphasis on access and creating a ‘future proof’network, but claimed that it was not too late for a change of course.

The committee proposes creating fibre-optic hubs within reach of every community that would enable the creation of connections where needed while also saving on the installation of the expensive ‘final mile’ of cable.

The committee also recommended the government consider switching all TV broadcasting to the internet, and that ministers should pay “urgent” attention to the way in the which money in the Broadband Delivery UK fund was spent on extending services to rural areas.

“The Government is quite right to make broadband a policy priority – barely an aspect of our lives isn’t touched in some way by the internet, and developments look set to continue apace in the future. A whole host of services will increasingly be delivered via the internet – including critical public services – and without better provision for everyone in the UK this will mean that people are marginalised or excluded altogether.

“If broadcast services move to be delivered via the internet for example, as we believe they may be, then key moments in national life such as the Olympics could be inaccessible to communities lacking a better communications infrastructure.

“Our communications network must be regarded as a strategic, national asset. The Government’s strategy lacks just that – strategy.

“The complex issues involved were not thought through from first principle and it is far from clear that the Government’s policy will deliver the broadband infrastructure that we need – for profound social and economic reasons – for the decades to come.”