Broadband report 'lost opportunity'

Broadband report is a lost opportunity, says union

A House of Lords committee report on the future of broadband fails to address how its vision of high speed broadband for all can become reality, Prospect union said today (Tuesday).

Leslie Manasseh, Deputy General Secretary, welcomed the aim of seeing fast broadband delivered right across the UK to boost economic growth, and create much-needed jobs and social benefits.

But he said: "The report is unlikely to take us further forward in terms of delivery. It contains a mass of technical detail, which obscures the key issue of how both fast and superfast broadband will be paid for.

"In many competitor countries there has been massive public investment. However, the UK Government has committed only very modest public funds – far less than the previous Government. For example, £37bn of public money is being devoted to one high-speed rail link. Yet the Government is only devoting £530m to broadband projects, which are just as essential for the public good. Broadband is clearly the poor relation.

"Such a major infrastructure project will require public resources and an obligation on Ofcom, the regulator, to promote investment in the industry. The report ducks these essential questions and avoids any criticism of the failings of the government's approach of talking big but delivering small. It is a lost opportunity."

Prospect represents more than 16,000 professionals, managers and specialists working in IT and telecoms.