TechnologyUK still behind in broadband league

UK still behind in broadband league

Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmentshow UK broadband penetration remains 22nd out of the world's 30 richestnations.

The ranking has not changed since the group last reported in October2001.

Broadband connections have grown by 622%, from one in a thousandto more than one in 200 over the last year, says the OECD research, duefor release in July.

But the UK’s global rivals have also increased at similar or betterrates.

The OECD says BT’s price cuts in February have had a positive impact,but it has not included the impact in its figures.

However, this month’s broadband ‘scorecard’ released by the EuropeanCompetitive Telecommunications Association (Ecta) suggests even BT’sattempt to boost demand has not been enough to overtake other countries.

Ecta ranks the UK sixth out of the Europe’s top 15 for number ofbroadband connections. But the number of connections is only meaningfulin the context of population size, says Jim Norton, UK executivechairman of Deutsche Telekom and key member of government adviser theBroadband Stakeholder Group (BSG).

And when the Ecta connection numbers are related to population, the UKdrops to 12th position, higher only than Italy, Luxembourg and Greece.

‘The UK’s 12th place out of 15 in the EU on broadband penetration makesthe government’s role even more important, both as a purchaser and as anexemplar,’ said Norton.

In December 2001 the government agreed to 14 of the BSG’s 15recommendations, most importantly pledging to use the buying power ofthe public sector to drive infrastructure roll out.

E-commerce minister Douglas Alexander told AccountancyAge.com’s sister title Computing at the time: ‘The government’s response [to the BSG report] put in place a comprehensive package of measures to tackle both supply and demand issues in parallel.

‘So whether it is through intensifying competition, driving up demand,stimulating content production or facilitating further infrastructureroll-out, the work of the government continues.’

That was in December. It is now nearly June and according to thefigures, very little has changed.

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