Part of the Government’s all-encompassing Broadband-for-all plan might see the BBC, partially funded by the public through the licence fee, providing funding for next-gen broadband investment.
Seeing as the BBC iPlayer is one of the most popular online resources, and plans to launch the tentatively titled ‘Project Canvas’ IPTV service with ITV and BT, it would seem that communications minister Lord Carter, author of the Digital Britain report, might have a point.
“More and more people get their media from the internet and that usage is doubling every two years,” he said in response to a question about next-gen investment from Conservative MP for Bromsgrove Julie Kirkbride. “Would the nation’s state-funded content provider have a role in this? It would seem to me it would.”
In the first part of the Digital Britain report, Lord Carter outlined his vision for the future of British Broadband, in which he saw every household in the UK being able to enjoy speeds of at least 2Mbps by 2012 – 2Mbps is a sufficient speed at which to stream videos from the BBC iPlayer, meaning that everyone in the UK will be able to watch events at the London Olympics online.
When questioned again by Kirkbride about the possibility of a universal service obligation (USO) being drawn up to facilitate this, Carter stated that technical issues such as exactly how broadband connections would be delivered to each and every household – via fixed-line, mobile or satellite connections – needed to be drawn up first before a funding template could be worked out. “We’ve always been of the view that it would be a public/private tie-up,” he said.
BT and Virgin Media have already announced their plans for future fibre networks, promising top speeds of 100Mbps, and recent trials in 4G and HSPA+ mobile technology will make for more secure and faster mobile broadband connections than those which are currently available. We’re not exactly sure how the Beeb will fit into this public/private tie-up, presumably this will involve a licence fee increase, or perhaps even a separate licence fee for those who will not be serviced by either BT or Virgin Media’s cable networks.
- Lord Carter’s Digital Britain report arrives today
- Lord Carter to quit before publication of Digital Britain report
- Digital Britain Report Delayed
- Broadband for all by 2012: Industry to foot the bill
- Vision for a Digital Britain revealed