An industry group representing the likes of Google, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco has re-launched to form a campaign group, entitled the Digital Policy Alliance (DPA), which aims to address competition concerns in the UK broadband market.
Formerly known as Eurim, the new Digital Policy Alliance (DPA) has a 20-year history sharing expertise with the government on technology policy and has said that through the DPA it will press for more action on technology uptake and broadband.
This follows a House of Lords Communications Committee report that was released this week, which slammed the government for not delivering an open and competitive broadband infrastructure through its Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) framework.
Entitled ‘Broadband for all – an alternative vision’, the report noted that the government had originally intended to deliver a digital hub in every community, but this seems to have been substituted by BT’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) product, which allows anyone to purchase a fibre link to the premise for a price.
The committee did not believe this was a suitable strategy for building a competitive infrastructure: “The exclusive ability of one provider to build a final fibre link is actually a categorical departure from the idea of an open access fibre optic hub in which anyone is permitted to build a link between premises in the community and a fibre in the hub,” it said.
There is increasing concern that the government’s BDUK is favouring incumbent supplier BT, as a number of alternative providers have pulled out of the bidding process, leaving BT to win the majority of public funds.
"Government urgently needs to review its strategy for broadband roll-out. Government has failed to inject competition into the broadband market leaving many innovative providers unable to offer their services. The current approach would appear completely at odds with the localism agenda,” said secretary general of the DPA, Edward Phelps.
The group has said that it is currently working to provide ‘expert solutions’ to broadband rollout through the sharing of existing local authority infrastructure and has brought in former Downing Street adviser Sean Worth to oversee its policy work.
"I believe the next big digital revolution will happen in public policy – governments using powerful digital technologies to promote growth and jobs, while at the same time building a better networked and inclusive society,” said Worth.
“Broadband is a big part of realising that vision."