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Monday, April 16, 2007

OFCOM stance on Access Networks

Whilst the ex-OFCOM executive, Kip Meek, who is Chairman of the Broadband Stakeholder Group and allegedly resigned from OFCOM because of the appointment of Ed Richards to the CEO position, starts the lobbying process for public funding of access networks, Ed Richards made his position quite clear in a recent interview with OFCOMWATCH.
OW – Just to pick up on the theme of public money in communications. Lets talk about publicly funded access schemes. People have suggested that public money will be required if are to have an alternative next generation access network. Do you have any view on those sorts of opinions?
ER – Well, I am not persuaded that it is. And it certainly shouldn’t be for large parts of the country. Let me answer this by analogy – when broadband started in this country people said to me at the time ‘we have to have broadband all over the country it will never be provided for by the market, the market might go to 60% but there’ll have to be government funding for the rest.’ Remember that? That’s what they used to say. Lots of people – the Broadband Stakeholders Group – lots of people. And I remember saying in response, ‘well let’s just wait and see shall we, wait and see if there really is a problem.’ What level of coverage do we have for broadband now? 99.6%! How much public money was necessary to do that? Zero! Would it have been a waste of taxpayers money to spend it on supporting rollout? Yes! Next generation is the same in my view. It may well be that in due course we feel that a public subsidy ends up being necessary some years down the line but its definitely not where you start. I would not be surprised if it turned out that we didn’t need any subsidy and the bulk of next generation access was done by the market in exactly the same way that current generation broadband evolved.
Meanwhile back in La-La Land efforts are still underway to:
  • fund the patently ridiculous “Public Service Publisher” prosposals;
  • justify wasting yet more money giving the nations top “Public Service Pornographer”, Channel 4 a cash injection; and
  • create some voodoo economics to squander yet more spectrum on the Public Service Broadcasting.
All of this activity, whilst OFCOM cannot issue a single comment about 40k Customer Complaints on Celebrity Big Brother.