Saturday, September 13, 2008

Telecoms industry should pay for super-fast broadband

Telecoms companies will have to foot the bill, expected to run to billions of pounds, for the next generation of super-fast broadband across the UK, according to the former boss of Cable & Wireless, who was asked by the Government to review the British broadband market.

Francesco Caio, vice chairman of Lehman Brothers in Europe, who led the review into the future of broadband for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Treasury, said the Government must not be “complacent” about the next generation roll out but that a case for state subsidy was “weak at best”.

Mr Caio suggested recommendations In the report, published today, that included ways in which the Government can help to reduce the bill, estimated at between £5.1 billion and £28.8 billion, for installing the high-speed fibre optic lines.

Warning of the logistical “nightmare” that an upgrade will require, he suggested that the Government co-ordinate the 1.2 million streetworks that are carried out each year in the UK so that fibre optic lines can be laid without the country becoming a “nationwide building site”.

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