Thursday 16 February 2012
NEW INQUIRY: THE BANDWIDTH HUNGRY NATION – SUPERFAST BROADBAND
ARE EXISTING SUPERFAST BROADBAND PLANS WHAT WE REALLY NEED?
WHERE IS GOVERNMENT INVESTMENT MOST BENEFICIAL?
HOW CAN WE ENSURE EVERY AREA OF BRITAIN HAS ACCESS TO THE NETWORK?
These questions and others are to be investigated by the House of Lords Communications Committee in a new inquiry announced this week. In 2010, the Government set out plans for Britain to have “the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015” and with ever increasing demand for bandwidth, the Committee want to find out more about the thinking behind and progress with the Government’s broadband strategy.
Policy debate surrounding superfast broadband has implications for a very broad range of people, from citizens, consumers and innovative business in both towns and rural communities, to network providers, regulators and the Government. The Committee aims to hear from any interested organisations and individuals, and have asked for written evidence on areas including:
· What changes in the use of digital communications can be anticipated over the next 20 years, and how should these affect strategic investment in our digital infrastructure?
· Is the Government’s investment being effectively applied to develop maximum social and economic benefit?
· Is speed the best way of monitoring this?
· What is being done to prevent a digital backwater in areas where the roll out of superfast broadband isn’t commercially attractive?
· What role could or should the different methods of delivery play in ensuring the superfast broadband network is fit for purpose?
Lord Inglewood, Chairman of the Communications Committee, discusses the new inquiry in more detail on YouTube here, and commented:
“Superfast broadband is clearly an important development across Britain, not just for economic growth but also because it will impact on how people do things such as view media content, shop and even access healthcare. We want to look into the Government’s proposals to find out if its targets are likely to be met and whether it is being ambitious enough in its plans. Issues such as investment, Britain’s market in fibre optic products and whether the advances in broadband provision will require regulatory changes are all things that need to be looked at to ensure the strategy works.”
Notes to Editors
- The Call for Evidence on the Committee’s new inquiry into superfast broadband can be found online here: www.parliament.uk/hlcommunications
- The deadline for written evidence is Tuesday 13 March 2012.
- The Members of the House of Lords Communications Committee are:
Lord Inglewood (Chairman)
Lord Gordon of Strathblane
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston
Bishop of Norwich
Lord St John of Bletso
Earl of Selborne
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